SANDRA HILL – MIA KURRUM MAUN [FAR FROM HOME]
Let Sandra Hill talk to you about some of her hihlights from the Mia Kurrum Maun [Far From Home] exhibition.
The audio tour starts in the Atrium with the Koora Katitjiny (long ago knowing) artwork and runs in the same order as the List of Works (available at reception).
This audio tour is intended to be listened to on a mobile phone or personal listening device with headphones or in a way that doesn’t disturb other visitors to the Gallery.
The tour includes audio and transcripts.
TRANSCRIPTION: This is Koora Katitjiny (Long Ago Knowing) and the work is about the Derbarl Yerrigan, or the Swan River, and it relates to the six Noongar seasons and the importance of the waterway.
TRANSCRIPTION: This work is called Yorga, and yorga is the word for “Aboriginal woman” in our language, and it’s about traditional times, with the 14 language groups that are featured on the left with the Aboriginal woman in her traditional booka; and then on the right is a scene at Moore River Native Settlement, with the old church; and overlaid is an image of a modern Aboriginal woman walking and the pink roses are like the English rose that symbolise the colonization of our country and the assimilation our women.
TRANSCRIPTION: This painting is called Divine Devolution and it relates to our women and in traditional times we had a specific role. We were very valued, very respected, and we were equal to our men and then the ship came, colonisation happened, and our women had to take on another role.
We were turned into maidservants and housemaids, nannies, and we were devalued. So we’ve been devolved from our traditional role as women in our traditional communities.
TRANSCRIPTION: This is Double Standards Too – White Picket Fence and this depicts our people being put in a situation as a garden ornament inside the white picket fence when we are being told, and have been told for over 150 years, that we need to assimilate and find our way into white society and act as white people but that’s very difficult to do when our people are being depicted as garden ornaments.
TRANSCRIPTION: Painting 8, 9, 10 and 11 are part of the Home-maker series, which is a series of works that have a similar thread running through them, which is an Aboriginal woman in her traditional bookah, her kangaroo skin cloak, being placed into a domestic or recreational situation where she feels much discomfort because she doesn’t belong there and the situation isn’t ideal for her, but it was one that was forced onto her and to most of our women during the years of assimilation.
TRANSCRIPTION: This is My Mother’s Booka, and it’s been made with marri resin and balga resin, which is grass tree resin. The pink flowers represent colonisation. And this is a tribute to my mother who was taken away in 1933 and she didn’t have that connection to her country culture and identity. So I’ve made this in homage to her.
The basket has part of a silk dress she gave to me. I’ve woven that into the basket and the heart is her black heart, though she was brought up as a white woman and they tried to assimilate her, her heart remained black and she remained true to her culture even though she didn’t know a lot about it because of her removal.
TRANSCRIPTION: This is The White Dress and the white dress is, again, a tribute to all those women who were forced into being maids, nannies, and home-makers. The documents on the dress are my personal family documents, and the images are of some of the women in my family as well and I believe I’m in one of those pictures too.
The lizards, the goanna’s walking across the dress, and they depict the fact that even though this assimilation policy was vast in the state of Western Australia, our colours, our culture still lives on and it hasn’t demolished or annihilated our culture, which was the ultimate goal for the governments of the day. So the lizards on there, crawling across the pages of my native welfare files, are showing that we’re still here. Culture is still here. We’ve survived and we’re still a people.