I'm really happy that i have a selling show again and this time i was happy to make a few new political works for NAIDOC Week for my latest solo show at the Joondalup Art Gallery.
I invited lots of friends and family along for the opening night even though my legs aren't able to carry me there on the night my twin opened the show with a beaut speech in our Badimaya language. My two nephews James and Curtis went along with Curtis' friend and his Mum too.
I miss going to these events but it won't be long till I'll be right back into the swing of things after my operation next month which will be around about the time this exhibitions finishes but I feel only good things because it's the beginning of a new phase in my life were my health won't keep me away from other people so much as it has made me be in the last 20 years.
I worked pretty well for this show and this picture shows some icon works my twin sister Carol took at the opening on the 4th July.
My favourite painting was about three boys who are learning about the responsibility it takes to be elders one day. It had the right amount of gaze and gold background.
This work is my nephews favourite and it's got thousands of tiny jewels over it. Flames inside the icon image with a heart. These are acrylic crystals mica gold detail.
it's a selling show so I hope each work goes into a public collection &/or a good home with a collector.
I paint mainly to stop racism so the enjoyment is based in education and a good conversation for change.
City of Joondalup on Facebook [click the picture above]
I remember Mum saying that racist white women wrapped up their racism into this kind of myth of machismo for white menfolk here.
That if a man could keep his woman AWAY from First Nation people that he was somehow a good provider & protector for her.
The fact that white women thought it was correct and were even proud makes it one of the more insidious form of racism there is.
( http://aso.gov.au/…/docu…/freedom-ride-blood-brothers/clip1/ )
I was looking at this video from 1965 and although I don't know these people personally it made me think about what my Mum told me and I believe it's true..
I think a lot of racist whites STILL think like this because many haven't personally met a First Nation person.
They don't want to because they actively avoid it out of a traditional culture of hate.
They have a lot of opinions based on racist folk tales in the Bible mostly about the son of Ham...which is a myth in itself.
The myth goes something like this; Black people are not as good as white and are only black because God made them black to show that they're only fit for slaves. Now, it's not IN the Bible but it's a myth made by kings so their white slaves/servants wouldn't think they were more slave-y than black people.
It's a culture of hate in order to help define a mythic 'proud' white racist family unit in servitude to a King...or Queen in the case of this continent..
If you add every other kind of white racist privileged embellishment from media and politicians then there IS apartheid in this country.
It's all kept inside of suburban homes with their huge fences, large dogs and SUV's with the strayan flag on the window sticker.
The 'polite' segregation wrapped up in the colonial myth of 'mates' with other whites BUT it's still the 'boss man and jacky-jacky' mentality for First Nation men and as for white women...they aren't a real women if they meet a First Nation person, ever.
The solution? Get in their faces about it and make a joke about it. Shame them enough to make it seem like it's not cool or sane to do it.
Also, if you're in a First Nation family...like mine is...you'll find that some tend to copy exactly what our oppressor does to us. They do that out of pain, fear, anger and frustration.
Our misguided family members need to learn that difference is natural and isn't worth the fear or hate it creates.
If some of our family imitate white racists and don't associate with even fair-skinned First Nation people like me then they're part of the problem that white racists created for them and themselves. Rich white racists make the problem in order to solve it with hate & violence in a class based pawn move and First Nation people aren't THAT. We aren't pawns in a huge game.
Elite, rich, white racists WANT us to keep OURSELVES segregated from them so they can stay 'pure' (whatever that means) and they don't have to lift a finger because WE do all the work for THEM. We're like their bloody slaves and they don't even have to lift a finger.
When any person segregates themselves from a portion of humanity they are slaves to whoever told them it was OK to do it.
Let justice, peace & love be your guide.
Because these days that's the REAL revolution.
My First memory of racism was an attack on my Nana because she's darker than me and I didn't know it at the time....
All I knew was that someone was hurting my Nana and I loved her.
I know what racism is because when I was 4 years old and my Nan was in our front yard watering her lawn for us to sleep on at night in the summer...
I remember a white woman coming out of nowhere stage right and starting to point and snap angry words at my Nana.
I didn't know what those words were but I could hear my Nana gasp at them.
I remember saying the only word that I knew was angry at her. I was half hiding under a huge pink flowering hibiscus bush as I charged forward and back again to defend her because I loved her ....and there was this stranger trying to hurt my Nana.
"Bloody...Bloody...bloody Bloody..." I went...pointing my finger at this white racist woman and then I got enough courage to rush to be next to my Nana's dress to hide in it.
Nana picked up the hose out of my way and kinked it shut with her fist cutting off the water...and looked at this racist wench right in the eyes even as she was spitting and now screaming out words that really made no sense to me.
My Nana said something under her breath and that racist shouted out louder hoping a nieghbour would hear her as if to assist her or something in a really sharp warped kind of crazy voice that was so shrill that it hurt my ears.
It must have been really racist because my Nan, who's usually a calm women, had her hand came out to the side of her apron ...and she started flicking with her thumb and middle index finger as if something was biting her. It was like she was trying to flick off the anger she wanted to inflict on this racist bitch to the ground...
I remember saying "Bloody BLOODY Bloody bloody..." and looking out at all the distance as that woman turned away and started off the street towards her house somewhere else.
She walked like she'd won some huge prize for being white?
Just as she got to the corner of Nana's verge and onto the nieghbours front lawn my Nana let her have it with the hose.
She had the head of the hose pinched with her thumb on the top off it till the water came out in one jet hard as nails.
The hard water hit that racist woman from the top of her expensive dumb shoes to the back of her head till her hat flew off her head and she staggered forward with the shock of it.
She then ran in a zig-zag stumble with this fake drama run...screaming up the street clutching her wet ass as she ran off.
My Nana and me looked at each other strong because we were family...and nothing anyone else said about us would change that.
Just a note: I wasn't 'the fair one' or 'the white kid' in the family EVER...
I've always been just Julie.
My Nana said later that that woman had been gossiping with the whole neighborhood about Nana because she wanted her gone because she was black. Hell, the whole family looked different but we couldn't give a rats ass.
So this racist woman was being there every 5 minutes spying for years it seemed to me and was all 'sweet' at first while doing it just so she could get her power up to try something and Nana picked up on it of course lonng before she arrived. It was a case of not knowing how but when she'd try something which happened a lot of Nan in her life I know now.
So Nana told her a bit of a fib (a lie) to catch her out & that.
She told her that was growing gunja (marijuana) in the back yard for happy trips....well...this racist tells the cops she's growing maryjane to get Nana out of 'HER' street, 'HER' suburb...'HER' planet etc.
I think she looked at us as if we should be gone into child welfare and adopted out to some white strangers.
So the cops arrive, all guns blazin' and Nana & us are all are out in the bush hunting for wood across the street....
So the only thing the cops found was Nana's tomato plants!
They would've gone round to that racist woman's house and given her a verbal for being a public nuisance!
I painted pictures for people to use last night for today. The Flying Foam Massacre Memorial Day at King Bay.
A quote from a friend;
"There is a Gathering of people at Kings Bay Western Australia on Sunday 21/2/2016 to Commemorate a campaign of Genocide on the Yabuara people of the Pilbara region in Western Australia.. On this Day in 1868 English colonists began three months of systemic massacre against the Yaburara people of what we know today as the Burrup or Dampier Island. We pay our respects to past peoples of the Burrup, ancient peoples who left their message for future generations in some one million rock art paleolithic, the oldest and largest group known to ever exist on earth.
We pay our respects to the many generations who over millennia assumed guardianship of what many regard as the Australian original peoples Rosetta Stone.
We Stand in honour of the peaceful unarmed and non-combative Yaburara people whose hand of friendship extended to the newly arrived colonists was grabbed with greed as colonists sought not merely the hand of friendship proffered nor contentment with the arm but a greed driven desire to take the life out of the whole body of all of the Yaburara people. Today we Stand in honour of the Yaburara who were Massacred in the three month evil known today as the Flying Foam Massacre.
It is because of this massacre that Colonial Australian Courts recently disallowed a Native Title Claim, in effect rewarding the colonial society whose rights descend from the Flying Foam Massacre .We honour those slain.
We Stand in solidarity with the the Ngarda Ngarli Aboriginal people of the West Pilbara with Senior lawman and spokesman Wilfred Hicks and Tim Douglas by whose consent this Event takes place. We also acknowledge and act with the consent of tribal elder Audrey Cosmos .
Idle No More Solidarity Sydney , The Indigenous Social Justice Association and Occupy Sydney join with Global Stand up for the Burrup, supporters and friends in calling for UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE LISTING of the Entirety of The Burrup Rock Art and its surrounding area.
Recently the West Australian Government gazetted 44% of the Burrup as a National Park Conservation zone. This is the first response since requests petitions protests and negotiations for such conservation began in 1965 in response to acts of industrial destruction and wanton desecration. It is a small step in the right direction and for the first time gives UNESCO the scope to consider Heritage listing under its Charter.
We call for the West Australian Government to extend all declared National Park to all of the Dampier Archipelago. To conserve 44% is the equivalent of Egypt preserving one pyramid knocking a second down to develop a high rise building and allowing the third to be converted to an hotel. It couldn't happen in Egypt and it shouldn't happen to the oldest and largest paleolithic collection in the world. The fact that parts of The Burrup have already been destroyed to serve the short term profit interests of mining and gas extractors from far away makes the prospect even more abhorrent.
Today we join with our Brothers and Sisters in grief and remembrance and demand UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE LISTING FOR THE BURRUP."
- Lanz Priestly
Here's a new plot twist in my life...; Disability discrimination!?
Yesterday I was prescribed heart medication at 4mg. It's not much medication but what it means is I was putting my heart under stress from somewhere...yeah right...I knew exactly where it came from or should I say whom.
In Badimaya lore we believe in payback. While we may not always get the perpetrator to stand in front of our relatives we sure know that our ancestors will take up the true issuance for us.
In this case I think the person in question was greedy and wanted to see me suffer.
He wanted that because I was many things he hated just for being me.
They say it's better to go where you're celebrated and not just tolerated so that's what I did. I left the scene and not a moment too soon it seems.
I'm disabled with Lipoedema.
It's not a disease I can control very much.
It's commonly known as 'The Shaming Disease' and for good reason.
People are so conditioned to thinking that people who are large in extreme ways are over-eaters or they're lazy but with Lipoedema you cant change the growth of fat with fitness training or diet. All you can do is stop inflammation through massage & wraps and at best liposuction but in this continent it costs $22,000 to only remove 15 liters a year!
It's not covered as a chronic illness in most parts of the planet and there's no cure YET.
I'm having gastric sleeving in May 2016 in the hope it can reduce the amount of fat cells forming and to stop the amount of fat lipids in my blood at any given time.
All of this I explained to this disability Nazi but it just wasn't good enough.
At every opportunity he made it an issue.
I didn't listen of course but when he couldn't be honest about things he ended up blaming me in the guise of "care". What he was trying on for size was sympathy and that's a LOT different than empathy. Empathy means he'd actually DO something nice whereas he just shrugged his shoulders or started boasting to me about all the 'nice' things he did before...like he was keeping a list in his head about what I'd MADE him do by being disabled in the first place?!
I can think of a few well known 'disabled' artists who hardly NEVER had this kind of discrimination; Matisse, Renoir, Duchamp, Kahlo to name a few.
A great artist isn't 'famous' or a bon vivant in their own mind as PROOF they're an artist...
If they DO think that then I recon they're like Jeff Koons and every other poser 'artist' and money market fapper.
Sorry, I'm fully aware of my disability but that doesn't translate into my art or how I feel about myself being alive.
Side Note for this week;
Oh....and Yay for meta-modernism..If I read a bit more I guess I'd learn to like it as a mind set to stop racism because hey...post-modernism really was trying to absorb First Nation culture into it as something "already done before" but it just turned out looking like colonialism and cultural genocide of Badimaya people to me.
It was the main reason why I began painted a certain way because I really hated the racism of some post-modernist theory and the people stealing cultures for their own profit.
I actually paint to stop racism because I'm a product of the brainwashing that said
"white is right"...so my life is literally here as a direct result of racism & assimilation against my mother's people, my people, the Badimaya Nation.
Sometimes I get asked what I mean when I say iritja about an interaction I'm having with someone.
IRITJA is the Western Desert & Badimaya term for the spiritual role of a person or clan who act as negotiators/translators/traders/ambassador/messengers between the First Nation next to their own or to send extremely long distance messages to another First Nation far away.
There are early invading colonial accounts of white men coming across iritja men & women who walked or ran along song-lines which had been well traveled over thousands of years by countless iritja before them.
The colonial soldiers on horseback were afraid of them because they refused to stop or look up at them as they passed by. Even as they'd never seen a white man before. The barbaric response to this fear was to shoot the iritja and loot their bodies or claim their skulls for science. What these invaders were destroying in a violent instant was an individual as part of an intricate web of communication and ritual. The reason why the iritja didn't look up at them was because they were in deep meditation and watching for the next nyining (tall tree with carvings or paintings on them) or mountain or a water course so they could find direction/set the time of day to know what stars they would be seeing at night to follow ritual on their journey as well as timing their distance in order to meet others along the way based in their same kinship.
It was a holistic relationalism of the body to nature across vast distances in order to stop conflict, to trade ritual objects that literally sung the same spiritual songs based on the star patterns in the night sky and for a personal spiritual connection to their family.
Star patterns such as the rainbow serpent, the 7 sisters creation story and the two brothers creation story were linked together across many First Nations in 'Australia'.
The largest creation story is the 7 sisters which begins in Western Australia and ends across the continent in Victoria.
Under each star pattern there are great song-line tracks.
The only western travel writer to first discuss this was Bruce Chatwin;
Some of his observations are correct but others are not.
I think he missed plenty of the more intricate details of song-lines to make them appear as if extinct when in fact it was and is a reality today within kinship in Western Australia at least.
People don't walk and run on song-line tracks anymore because the colonial invaders in an act of conquest built their roads over the top of them to form major highways such as the old Fremantle road and parts of the Great Norther Highway.
This didn't stop my Badimaya Nation from using them with other modes of transport...right up until today in cars, bikes and trucks in order to continue their role as iritja for our ritual trade.
My family are iritja for the eastern side of Badimaya country.
In the first contact times Lord Forrest manipulated this use of iritja to gain access to our lands and others before he invaded them with his surveyors who systematical poisoned ever second waterhole and then burnt the bodies after procuring skulls for 'gentlemen', museums & scientists all over the world.
Canning was such a surveyor for the Canning stock route which was named after him.
A telegram request for arsenic to exterminate First Nation people in the Kimberley as they had already done so from 1876 right up until 1910...some say they did this for a lot longer as the last massacre was in 1937 in the Kimberley.
My great grandmother's iritja was between Warriedar Station & Nyinghan Station down to Bruce Rock into the Nyoongar Nations.
Another was into Wongatha to the east of Badimaya country.
She did it till the year she passed away and nobody Non-First Nation ever detected she was still acting in this role for her Nation & kin.
My grandmother was also iritja in spite of the fact that the Roman Catholic Church had inculcated her when her white father stole her from her mother to do so.
As Catholic she still maintained her iritja lore in her own home.
The house where she raised me is in Nyoongar country was her 'battleship' for iritja and she trading out of her own home almost directly under the flight path of the international airport at RedCliffe (near Belmont) in the Perth metro area. She had with countless people talking and trading with her while I was growing up with her.
My grandmother felt she was kept from speaking about it very much...but she still enacted it because it didn't violate her Catholic faith because there is belief of a single great creation spirit in Badimaya lore.
In her mind and in many others of her age we saw it in the same way as other Christians would view God.
If the theology of inculcation exists in Christianity then why didn't they view our law as being part of the evolution of love in all the First Nation communities as seeing that same great creator?
Many assimilationists & Christians thought and some still think...even today... that Badimaya First Nations people believe in animism which is just not true.
We believe that every creature, tree or plant is sent to us to guide us from the creator.
Each clan or kin or skin group has a creature, plant or tree that we are custodian over.
They also speak the truth to us about the great spirit's supreme creation & gift, the earth.
In my family we are custodian and guardian over the Warida, the wedge-tailed eagle.
This creature is connected to the land and the sky and is visible in both Badimaya country and in Nyoongar country in the stars at night.
We use it's skill to help us hunt for food and for water using the stars they make at any particular time of the year as a map.
Others use the emu or whei-gen as it's called in Nyoonagr to the south of Western Australia.
The Warida is linked to a ritual place where we see God in the sky.
It's linked to iritja too because it's song-line is connected though the song-line tracks that have been walked for thousands of years and still are today right into Noongar country to the south.
The warida is also an indicator towards the pride we feel as it's custodians as having keen eyes to see details in any situation in life and is a skill highly admired in our family and First Nation.
As an artist & warida I feel pride with all other artists before me who have been ititja warida because it's something I can share and send messages with to other people & clans from far away.
My mother Ronnie is an iritja with stories.
She also has a keen eye and is an artist too.
When we grew up she kept us safe so that we could be part of the single line of iritja warida in our matriarchal family and now she is our elder in it.
We grew up without tv or the telephone so most of our childhood was us all yarning.
Iritja I think has been used in other forms in other places...such as in Greece with the marathon runners.
Also with the people who run along hill tops to send messages in the Andes or in Mexico in South America.
Yesterday I called into an art event with three artists doing a work titles named #TOUCHMYSOUL
I wanted to participate because I saw what they were trying to achieve.
A relationalism between lots of people using the internet which is like one huge network of messages to me. The internet is kind of like a new way to walk song-lines.
It's not the same as survivalism that creates this fan/star dynamic.
Someone already tried to create an 'artistic' term for it by saying it was meta-modernism but I disagree.
I think it's much more closely connected in how we are in our human spirit.
The option to give is ever present in us.
It's in us so much that it helps us to feel closer to our own creation.
That is the main premise of iritja to the Badimaya warida.
I went to sleep after watching from the beginning about an hour before it finished because it was 2am here in Western Australia and when I woke up one of the artists Shia LeBeouf had been given a tattoo in a kind of ritual sharing saying YOU.NOW.WOW on his inner arm.
I thought it seemed like ritual scaring in a way...Like the artists were making a ritual space for the world to participate in...except I was dreaming by then.
It was very wiru babanyu(strong spirit of friendship) to see him with this as a reminder of all our calls and iritja.
"Can you touch my soul?" they all asked as i called in.
That was the question they all asked together.
I think we all answered each other as iritja.
Sometimes I get questions sent to me through this web site from students in high schools & universities about my cultural practice.
The most recent one was a lovely young woman named Justine.
She asked the perfect questions for me to answer so I thought I might add the Q & A here.
I hope it helps other students who wish to contact me in future when they read this blog entry :)
Q: could tell me about your artistic influences
A: Badimaya lore paintings in sand and found in cave art...also carved into rocks across my Badimaya home country which is the mid west of western Australia under the towns of Mount Magnet & Yalgoo.
I’m also influenced by Catholic religious artistic practices found in the Renaissance era in Europe.
Q: and inspiration behind your work,
A: I began painting portraits when I was young as a way to assist my family to find family who had been separated from us due through government policy up until 1973.
I also paint as a way to stop racism today as it’s the greatest enemy to artistic freedom in the world today and in that task I paint everything that occurs to me in my daily life through a kind of diary or as some have termed an auto-ethnographic practice.
I also admire the way in religious Catholic tradition that with icons in particular the local priests would take donations to make icons for the communities they were in.
The priest would hide and travel with these jewel encrusted icon with him if the village or community was destroyed so he could make that community again somewhere else using the jewels in another location.
I think it’s an influence because it talks about a European relationalism rather than survivalism to one’s culture and community that I can understand.
Relationalism as a term was first discussed with Mary Graham in this video here;
Q: whether you were influenced by particular artists,
A: Firstly my Mother and grandmother were major influences on my work as they were both discouraged to be artists even as they were from a very long line of matriarchal lore women to do art for themselves. My family use art to record beliefs and spiritual practices. Both of them were only ever encouraged to be the domestic servants to white people as was I when I was at high school back in 1981-86. They influenced me to persevere and to become interested in many many artistic techniques from an early age.
The other influences are in the multiple.
Mainly artists from the Renaissance artists such as Artemisia Gentileschi, Franz Hals, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, and Raphael.
Other influences are multiple as I follow techniques more than styles or personality such as Goya, Ray Crooke, Gordon Bennett, Ai Weiwei and William Hogarth.
Q: themes or movements
Romanticism (not Jean-Jacques Rousseau because he was a racist)
The Badimaya Nations cultural renewal & ancient continual practice
Stories from people resisting racism towards First Nations people in ‘Australia’.
Stories that empower First nations People in ’Australia’
The First Nations sovereignty movement towards de-colonization and real land rights.
Anti-Empire literature (see below text attached for reference such as ‘Enlightenment Against Empire’ by Sankar Muthu, 2003 )
Themes would be;
the land & people and the relationship between both.
Ending every day racism
Ending paper genocide through art (meaning ending white washed history and literature using art)
Q:and which of your artworks that show these influences?
‘In our country’ (see below)
dealing with stereotypical racism about fair skinned First Nations people namely me...as I go back to my country.
I get a lot of racism from white people who think I’m on the band wagon to ‘get benefits’ from ‘calling’ myself ‘Aboriginal’ as they call my identity as a Badimaya woman but what they don’t know about me is that I’m a product of the ‘breeding them out’ program of assimilationist genocide & brainwashing that ‘white is right’ along with the forced removal of 3 generations of my family. I’m also fair skinned as a result of 2 rapes committed against my great grandmother and her mother by white colonialists.
I have an identity in fighting for real land rights and striving for decolonisation.
My first land rights & equal justice rally was when I was 10 years old.
I am known and accepted in my family & community.
In the painting it shows my ancestors before invasion and myself holding hands with them in my country near Goodingow and Warida.
I don’t consider myself an ‘Australian Aboriginal’ because I’ve separated myself from the governing system. I’m a Badimaya.
I wish you well with your education,
152.5 x 121.5 cm
Synthetic polymer paint and red ochre on canvas
61.0 x 61.2 cm
Synthetic polymer paint and red ochre on canvas
Julie Dowling was approached by Richard Walley to paint his portrait for the National Portrait Gallery Collection in Canberra., ACT.
The artist had refused all commissions to date as her art practice is based in
an auto-ethnographic process.
As Richard Walley is a distant cousin and has been known by the artist for over 20 years she accepted the commission.
The portrait took 3 sitting, two formal and one interview. All tolled the hours out together the portrait was completed in 2 weeks.
Since 2012 Dowling has been painting a series of informal chiaroscuro portraits of prominent in the film & theater arts who have supported social reform to stop the injustice of assimilation & racism of First nation People on the Australian continent & abroad.
One portrait, which was part of a series of six, was made of the actor Jack Thompson. the work was painted without a sitter. Julie Dowling was inspired instead after watching films and speeches by the actor in favour of First Nations land rights and social justice at a number of rally's aired on the internet and television.
The portrait was also bought by the National Portrait Gallery at the same time the Richard Walley portrait commission was almost completed.
STATION 1: JULIE DOWLING
Exhibition: 'Stations of the Cross', Westley Church, Perth, March 2015
Murlabaya – Becoming Dead (Is Condemned to Die)*
131 x 75.5cm
Acrylic, red ochre, mica gold and plastic on canvas
by Julie Dowling, Badimaya Nation
"I wanted to paint an image related directly to the viewer about those who are wholly innocent and fall in-between the cracks of the justice system in WA. I also reflect on deaths in custody for First Nation people in this country.
I believe there are alternatives to the incarceration system as it is today. I think prisons are instruments of torture and punish those living in poverty.
Most first nation inmates have criminal records because they cannot get jobs and pay fines. . Many inmates are mentally ill from being systematically abused. Many have suffered inter-generational trauma believing that the only stability they have in life is found within prison walls. It is tragedy that social pressures to conform to the dominant culture in Australia cause my people to be targeted by systemic discrimination and racism. This relationship between the first nations people and the arms of the state have a long history going back to colonial invasion.
It is ignored that many of my people do not even the English language and it is not their first language. Many First Nation Peoples in this country who are convicted because they say “yes” to accusations when asked about a crime without fully knowing what is happening to them. The criminal injustice system continues without showing any duty of care or fairness.
Many of my people have daily fears of bashed by police or when they are incarcerated by the guards who are paid to look after them. Many of my people have been in and out of ‘the system’ since they were young children. A large number started out as foster children with little or no connection to their cultural identity believing that they might find their kin ‘inside’.
My community is fully aware of disturbing realities where children as young as nine or ten years old are being housed in juvenile detention or moved without consent to adult prisons in Western Australia without the consultation of their parents, families or communities. It is little wonder that this cycle of despair leaves far too many first nations peoples in this country to take their own lives. Depression or other mental illness receives little or no adequate treatment in correctional facilities.
In this country, first nation peoples make up thirty percent of the prison population and yet we are but three percent of the generation population. Between the years 2000 and 2010, the rate of first nation women has increased by sixty percent making up 58.6 percent of all women in prison. Our children currently make up 48 percent of all juveniles in custody beginning their lives behind bars rather than learning and growing within the arms of families.
The Barnett Government now threatens to close nearly 150 remote Aboriginal communities in this state. Ironically there are plans to build more prisons.
In this painting I have shown there to be figures around the Wiru(spirit circle). Around the figure’s head, are the belly marks of goanna as well as multiple sets of hands symbolising his spirit reaching out for help. The figure’s fingers do not touch each other so help is beyond the subjects grasp.
There are symbols of bush fires, camp sites, jardi (goanna’s), emu’s. All are symbols of fast motion. The symbol of everlasting flowers is the only symbol for stillness.
At the base of the painting is representing the garden of Gethsemane as well as the spirit trees found in the south west of WA known as Nyining (in Noongar language). A Nyining becomes spiritual significant as it grows and more so if it’s lived longer than a human life."
Julie Dowling 2015
Represented by: Harvison Gallery
Image Credit: Don Dowling (no direct relation)
* Ref. Badimaya Dictionary: An Aboriginal Language of Western Australia, Bundiyana – Irra Wangga Language Centre, Geraldton 2014
* Incarceration Statistics found at http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/law/aboriginal-prison-rates
A new series of Icon's to a Stolen Child are at Harvison Gallery in Perth.
Check out the link here for more details;