VISIBLE

I am not the type of woman that enjoys going places on my own, I would prefer to share an experience with family or friends. However, if I am at a book store, art gallery or museum please don’t come near me or talk to me. Leave me be in my own world, let me sink in to the emotions of the work, the beauty or the ugliness. I had to make the trek to Brisbane to pick up goodies for the Brisbane festival that I am a citizen reviewer for, so while I was in town I made the most of the opportunity and visited QAG.

A city dwelling friend knows my love for a bit of culture and recommended I have a look at the Tony Albert ‘Visible’ installation.

I illegally parked at the office of PR company Aruga to pick up my food and wine vouchers, t-shirt and lanyard for the Brisbane Festival, I raced out of there before I got towed. Paid the $17 for parking at the cultural centre and bought a burnt, too strong coffee from the museum cafe, forcing it down at an outside table watching the rain clean the city trying to remember the floor I parked my car on.

My city dwelling friend and I always pick a favourite piece whenever we visit a gallery together, the pieces I have chosen as favourites for the Tony Albert work were not visually beautiful, but emotionally moving. The “Moving Targets” 2015 is a stripped back shell of a car with the bonnet and boot popped open, TV screens fill the inside of the car with images of young indigenous males. The blacked out space is intensified with the walls covered in wallpaper. The wallpaper being digital images of bare chested aboriginal males with a target positioned over the centre of their chest, these images made up the award winning series “Brothers” 2013, the brothers are young men from the Kirinari Hostel in King’s Cross. The dark space, the stripped car, the stares of the indigenous men lining the walls was intense. I had a sense of fear, intimidation, and darkness a feeling of wanting to flee from the dark back into the light airy open space of the gallery. The red targets on the chests of the young men plastered on the walls signifys the men as targets of society. However, I was drawn to their chests, to the targets and thought of the hearts that beat there, the history, the ancestral wisdom that pumps in their blood.

On the outside wall of the “Moving targets”, The “Aboriginalia” wall hung. A white wall covered in kitsch household items popular for the 50’s and 60’s coffee mugs, salt and pepper shakers, tea towels, ash trays and souvenirs, commemorative tea spoons, wall hangings, figurines and a pinball machine decorated with images and caricatures of indigenous people, in the colour pallet and textures of the time green, orange, brown a bit of velvet, plastic and wood. The Aboriginalia wall was equally racist, fascinating and disturbing. I didn’t spend much time in front of the wall, but the piece stayed in my mind. It made me sad- these items are so recent in our cultural history. It made me want to spend time with works that celebrate the indigenous culture. I do love that the work hasn’t left me, that it has raised awareness, thought and conversation.

Like I said not beautiful pieces but thoughtful conversation starters. My favourite.

Golden milk

11.05.17

 

If you have read my blog you know that there is a coffee shop I go to on a Wednesday morning with the school mums. Well it has changed hands, had a facelift and a new menu. I haven’t been there for a while, but yesterday there was a post on Instagram saying golden milk was on the specials board.

I never just go for coffee on my own, I just don’t. If I am out somewhere and want a coffee I will grab a takeaway, but today I headed to Gather and Feast after school drop off for a golden milk, because I have never seen a golden milk in our local area and was not missing out. The reno on the old shop looked fresh and bright with plenty of seating. My fav 70’s arm chairs were still in the corner next to the front window. I headed straight to that little corner as soon as I ordered my golden milk from the lovely lady at the counter. The enthusiastic coffee and brekky crowd was fabulous to see in our local area that is not known as a foodie heaven. However, the aromas coming from the little kitchen, the pretty food on the tables and the delicacies in the cabinet next to the cash register were a treat that I will definitely be coming back for (some of the food has flowers on it – how divine).

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Golden milk

 

I know that I am going on and on about the no phone experiment that seems to have changed me forever. You can read about it here, here, here and here. While enjoying my golden milk, I tried not to pull out my phone and pretend to be engrossed in it. But I did in the end because, I looked like a crazy, stalker sitting on my own, in the corner, with a yellow drink just looking at people looking at their phone’s. It still amazes me that when people are together at a table, sharing a meal or a drink that they pull out their phone. Even before the no phone experiment I have never done that. It’s rude and isn’t it more important to spend time with the person that you are actually sitting with, than someone on line.

Anyway phone rant over. Will be going back to Gather and Feast. Everyone needs to try golden milk.

Dale Harding

 

They were in a concentration camp, they were enclosed within the perimeter of a wire fence, they lived in dormitories and they clothes were not suitable for the climate. Their language was taken away from them if they spoke it they would be punished severely, their culture, traditions were prohibited from being practiced or spoken of they were afforded no dignity. They were malnourished not only physically as the food was not sufficient to sustain them, but mentally and emotionally. They were forbidden to use their names and they were assigned an alpha numeric identity. Nanna was W38.

W38 was stamped into a lead breast plate worn around the neck. Elements that created the breast plate were lead, and old fencing wire. Lead is heavy, it is toxic to the nervous system, and cold. Lead in the breast plate represented the deadly way of life forced on these people. Fencing wire represented the boundaries for living as a young child.

So who wore this form of identification?

Indigenous Australians.

T and I went to the art gallery after dropping J at school. We sat for an hour and listened to the artist Dale Harding speak about his contribution to the installation at The Hub – Caboolture Regional Art Gallery

We took a seat in the arranged seating and with five other women of varying ages leaving half of the chairs empty, emotive art works from Michael Cook lined the walls and Wilma Walker’s baskets were displayed on pedestals, down lighting lit the space and the polished wooden floors added another earth element.  Listening to this world renowned artist speak and hearing the atrocities of his family and country, I had tears tracking down my cheeks. I was ashamed and embarrassed that within the hour spent with this generous, honest man, I learnt more about Indigenous Australian history than when I was at school or at any time since. I was uncomfortable as a white person in this setting that I had to be educated to the outrageous history of the state that we live in. History that is so new. As Dale said while World War I and II were raging in Europe these things were happening in our own country. In our state of Queensland. He opened up and told us that this history lesson skipped a generation in his family. That his mother never knew the extent of her mother’s and his nanna’s tragedy. It wasn’t until Dale started to ask about the story of his nanna that it came to light. Dale worried about asking appropriate questions to his nanna and he was conscious of seeking her permission to share, as there are strict protocols for sharing women’s and men’s stories.

As T and I left the gallery after taking a few photos. I was grateful that T had the opportunity to have that experience and to learn some history from such an authentic source and to view the Exhibition: My Country, I Still Call Australia Home: Contemporary Art from Black Queensland.

 

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Wilma Walker – Wilma made these baskets from memory as an infant. Her mother hid her in a similar basket to prevent government officials from removing her from her family.