Wednesday, August 12 2020


Art show explores Aboriginal identity

Update: May, 25/2013 - 08:00
Stolen Generation: The Ungrateful, a painting by Julie Dowling featured in a touring art exhibition from Australia.
HCM CITY (VNS)— An Australian touring art exhibition called Message Stick: Indigenous Identity in Urban Australia opened yesterday at the HCM City Fine Arts Museum.

It showcases 21 paintings and photographs produced by 11 indigenous urban artists over the last 25 years. All the artworks are from Australian Government's Artbank collection.

In his foreword to the exhibition's catalogue, Australia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Bob Carr says: "The exhibition underlines the vitality, energy and innovation of Indigenous communities and artists. It takes audiences beyond the popular contemporary Indigenous art movement of the Western Desert to the personal experiences of life in urbanised Australia."

Most works on display are influenced by the Stolen Generations – the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were forcibly removed from their families and their communities through the actions of past governments, for which a formal apology was issued by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2008.

They include The Ungrateful, a synthetic polymer paint, oil and gold on canvas painting by Julie Dowling, portraying a family with a white mother and four dark skinned children who are feeling uncomfortable, and Please Welfare, Don't take My Kids, an acrylic on canvas painting by Robert Campbell Jnr, with images of white people taking dark-skinned children from their parents.

Anna Burke, speaker of the Australian House of Representatives, who attended the exhibition's opening ceremony, said: "I hope this exhibition gives Vietnamese people an opportunity to learn about indigenous Australia and what it means to be an indigenous person living in urban Australia today."

The exhibition is presented by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in partnership with Artbank. It has toured New Caledonia and African countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya over the last two years, and is currently on an Asian tour.

The exhibition is also one of many events celebrating the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Viet Nam and Australia.

Message Stick will remain open until June 13 at the museum, 97A Pho Duc Chinh Street in District 1. — VNS

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