STOLEN

14 – panel installation, each 23cm x 30cm, overall 220cm x 150cm mixed media on photocopy on board
First exhibited in Bringing Them Home, Indigenous Conference Services, Gold Coast City Art Gallery

Brutalization, whether it is physical or psychological, is one aspect of the dark side of human nature. In the Australian context, the Stolen Generations reflect a long history of colonization, dispossession, marginalization and cultural genocide through, amongst other things, the removal aboriginal of children from their families. Instituted under the White Australia Policy and continuing for almost one hundred years until the 1970’s, children were separated from their families under the guise of protection and assimilation. The pain of such separation is thus well within the living memory of many aboriginal families across generations.
In this suite of works, I have photocopied images of adults taken as children from their families, obliterating/painting/obliterating with thin washes of paint on the photocopied images. The resultant diffused image creates for me a sort of meditative state in which I try to imagine the trauma of their past experiences. I then work back into the image with mixed media, sometimes adding minimal text and collaged fragments to heighten its suggested meaning and potency. In so doing, I am engaging with a process, which hopefully echoes something of the emotional complexity and unpredictable outcomes of and for those affected.
The spiritual intention of these works is to ‘draw out’ (paint over) their pain thereby imaginatively aiding the healing process because, as John Donne reminds us:

Any man’s death diminishes me because
I am involved in Mankinde
and therefore never send to know
for whom the bell tolls.
It tolls for thee.

John Donne