At the National Gallery

At the National Gallery

Before we head out into the wilds of Australia, it was good to have a day of art; Australian, American and European.

But running through the galleries of the National Gallery in Canberra is the angst Australia still feels about its treatment of indigenous Aboriginies and Torres Strait Islanders. Permanent and special displays by contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, responding to the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Rights Referendum, call for continued justice, rights and recognition.

It’s worth reflecting how recent and raw this issue still feels out here. But some people want to move on. It’s a moral, cultural and political debate, that has echoes around the world today.

Made of 200 ceremonial coffins, one for every year of European conquest. The Aboriginal Memorial (1987-88) by 43 Aboriginal artists is designed as a “war memorial”
In the foreground, Thunder Raining Poison (2015) by Yhonnie Scarce represents the nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s on Aboriginal land at Maralinga

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