Truth. Who’s truth? COVID – 7.
acrylic on framed canvas
55 x 44.5cm
There are many truths of Colonisation that are glossed/washed/passed over or are omitted entirely as a part of the modern history of this Continent.
The mis-education of the general public on these matters is deliberate, orchestrated, strategic and precludes the benefits of dealing with, understanding and resolving these matters with empathy, contrition, genuine remorse etc. as a nation. I have titled this work ‘COVID-7’ in reference to the act of colonisation itself as a metaphoric plague from a First Nations perspectives.
The ‘7’ in the title refers seventeen eighty eight. The main image is of a rotting blanket with a union jack motif. The line of small shapes emanating from the blanket from the centre to upper right is a stylised illustration of small pox as viewed under a microscope. Blankets like this were distributed as gifts to the local First Nations peoples with no immunity to the virus and the resulting devastation decimated and in some cases wiped out the local First Nations Community as well as subsequent diverse populations through transmission. Particularly the Peoples in and around the Sydney basin.
As happens with my works, figures, shapes and symbols have appeared in the blue areas of the blanket of their own volition. Numerous faces in a variety of profiles including skulls are present in the upper left triangle. Teeth and other body parts including phalluses are throughout the other blue triangles. Finally in the lower right triangle there is a hand with fingers pointing towards the ground clutching a gaoler’s key ring with one key.
I feel that final detail is a comment on the beginning of colonial presence here as a penal colony that gradually released convicts to assist the military in’*settling’ the land and eventually became the citizens and elected officials whose progeny are in power to this very day.
Has the colonial presence ever outgrown the penal colony mentality, strategy and infrastructure or has it just created a punitive, unsustainable natural resources harvesting work camp with exportation for profit as a philosophy and resident Blacks as acceptable collateral damage?