JULIE DOWLING: BIDYA GURLBAL
11 February – 20 March 2022
Julie Dowling is an internationally acclaimed Badimia (Yamatji) First Nation artist and activist who creates iconic pictorial critiques of contemporary and historical Australian narratives.
Through the stories of her own First Nation family, Dowling re-presents the violence and power imbalance in settler-colonial and contemporary Western Australia. Her own ancestors, and those of other Aboriginal people, gaze directly at the viewer, challenging them to acknowledge Australia’s colonial history and protest the ongoing injustices experienced by Aboriginal people.
Aboriginal slavery has underpinned the development of mining and pastoral successes in the State of Western Australia and all other Australian States and Territories. Aboriginal children were stolen from their families and deployed as free labour in the missions and native settlements where they were detained, accounting for ongoing and inter-generational trauma. Aboriginal people were posed as ethnographic exhibits on postcards in the 19th and 20th century. Centuries later, those photographed are still unidentified and longing to be claimed.