Our group of VU visual arts students have been covering the subject matter of indigenous art , for Culture and Context .
We have watched an informative 3 part series , made by the ABC , made and presented by Hetti Perkins , entitled “Art and Soul “.
The aboriginal people are an incredibly talented , naturally intuitive race of mark makers .Their work embraces every aspect of their life and informs and sustains them . They are natural creators at all levels and their work is multi disciplinary .
Some of the work I loved included :
The textile artists , women dying their yarn and fabric with plants and abandoned machinery
The visual artists telling the story of our ” mob “with dot paintings
This work saddened me
The Cape Baron descendants constructing shell necklaces from black shells . These are Truganini “s tears . Truganini is believed to be the last full blood Tasmanian aboriginal , whose race was subjected to genocide by the white settlers .
Their work is powerful , evocative and deeply moving .
And yes I am descended from the white settlers, who stole their land , forcibly evicted them , and attempted to destroy and desecrate their life , home and culture . Ironic really , as this prejudice , disrespect , starvation and cultural annihilation is exactly what my Irish forbears were fleeing from .
The aboriginal people are a strong , proud , resilient race and their work and life in art is be admired and revered . This was brought home when I attended the Sacred Heart Mission Concert at the Palais in StKilda recently . An aboriginal entertainer , actor , raconteur and musician named Jack Charles ,70 years old , 5 foot tall and a survivor of the stolen generation , took the stage , and held the audience in enraptured silence as he performed . We have much to be grateful for , that they let us share their country , culture , and creative gifts .