Curated by Sean Morris
Buried within the collections of the State Library of Queensland are two original photographs taken during a séance held in Brisbane on 24 October 1888. The photographs show an excellent example of independent slate-writing, where (purportedly) spirits of the dead communicate with the living by writing messages on a slate in the presence of a medium.
Growing up on the edge of the desert in Western Australia I developed a love of nature and over the intervening years my connection to 'place' has driven my artistic practice. However an illusory 'white' history has gradually been revealed and I cannot ignore it. I am forced to re-examine my own past and my place within it.
My series of works, Self reconciliation, draws inspiration from the slate-writing of Fred Evans and my own white history in and around the area I was born- particularly around pastoral and mining leases. It explores the 'voices of a white past' communicating the deceits and illusions of my own white history.
Self reconciliation- Quairading central wheatbelt focuses on the 100 years of my family history, who where one of the first settler families arriving in the township of Quairading, the central wheatbelt in WA. As new settlers they were given free land lots, complicit in driving First Nations peoples off their land.
The work Self reconciliation- we had a fence speaks about the colonisation of the area in and around Kalgoorlie, where I was born. Self reconciliation- the goldfields again speaks about the wealth of the goldfields and the obsession of filling our own bowls.
My great grandfather lived in Beltana, South Australia and many men at the time, including from my family, where working on the Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie railway. Self reconciliation- waterholes speaks to how we shackled the First Nations people and forced them to show us where the waterholes were located. The waterholes were then fenced off and many people died from lack of water- and the few survivors forced to leave. We on the other hand, prospered.
Stanley Street Gallery
19 February - 14 Marc 2020