Our Country isn’t young, or free…

One of the hardest jobs I have as a curator is to talk about violence and death. Especially murder.

It is not easy. It is also not new.

Artists can make work about whatever they want. When they choose to make work about the darkest moments in our history, who is there to listen? Who do they make the works for?

A lot of the time, it’s a memorial for them and their people. An acknowledgment of events. They aren’t making excuses or pointing fingers. They are recording their histories.

This collection of works should make you uncomfortable.

Try to accept them as a reality. It might not be your reality, but it is the reality of the artists.

Let it sit with you.

If you can, make space for it.

I am asking you to listen to what they have to say. You can drop it at the end of the day. For these artists, it stays forever.

It is not easy. It is also not new.

 

Daniel Boyd

Daniel Boyd Sir No Beard 2007. Art Gallery of New South Wales, gift of Clinton Ng 2012. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program. © Daniel Boyd

Judy Watson

Judy Watson a picnic with the natives – the gulf 2015. Art Gallery of New South Wales, Wendy Barron Bequest Fund 2015. © Judy Watson. Licensed by Copyright Agency

Wally Wilfred

Wally Wilfred Dhyakiyarr vs The King 2018. Art Gallery of New South Wales, puchased with funds provided by Vicki Olsson 2019. © Wally Wilfred

Robert Camplbell Jnr

Robert Campbell Jnr Map of the massacres of blacks on the Macleay Valley 1991. Art Gallery of New South Wales, purchased 1994. © Estate of Robert Campbell Jnr, licensed by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney

Timmy Timms

Timmy Timms Mistake Creek massacre 2000. Art Gallery of New South Wales, purchased 2003. © Timmy Timms, Warmun Arts Centre. Licensed by Copyright Agency

Ricky Maynard

Ricky Maynard The Healing Garden, Wybalenna, Flinders Island, Tasmania from the series Portrait of a distant land 2005, printed 2009. Art Gallery of New South Wales, purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Collection Benefactors Group and the Photography Collection Benefactors Program 2009. © Ricky Maynard. Licensed by Copyright Agency