Fiona FOLEY: artist

Not On Display

About the work

DISPERSED is a monument to the Aboriginal people who were driven off their land, and often killed, on the Queensland colonial frontier in the nineteenth century. The forced removal of Aboriginal people from their land was carried out by a special Native Police Force, which was formed to suppress Aboriginal resistance to colonial expansion.
A Native Police Force unit consisted of one commanding (white) officer and a small corps of Aboriginal troopers (trackers). The troopers were drafted from rival groups or from hundreds of kilometers away from where they patrolled. Such recruitment was a very successful ‘divide and conquer’ tactic used by authorities to eradicate the local Aboriginal population.
The Queensland Native Police Force massacred hundreds of Aboriginal men, women and children, often attacking Aboriginal camps at daybreak. To hide their actions from growing criticism, the commanding officer and other authorities would use the word ‘dispersed’ in diaries and government reports to disguise the killings. Foley now uses this word to draw attention to a grim and largely forgotten period in Australia’s history.
Although the Queensland Native Police Force was the most notorious and long lasting, formal and informal forces existed in other Australian colonies, including Western Australia.
Artist/Maker and role
Fiona FOLEY: artist
Charred wood, aluminium, 0.303 inch calibre bullets
51.0 x 25.0 x 500 cm (INSTALLED TBC)
Individual measurement tbc
Production place
Brisbane, Queensland
Credit line
Purchased through The Leah Jane Cohen Bequest, The Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation, 2014
The State Art Collection, The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession number

This is one of the sculptures in our collection.


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