Unidentified: Aboriginal New South Wales

Julie DOWLING: artist

Not On Display

About the work

Text: Aboriginal, Aboriginal, Origin, Native, Subhuman, Savage, Native,
Beast, savage, MFSVHSH
Picture: This picture was painted from a photograph of an unidentified
man of an unknown tribal nation taken between 1889 and 1894. This
painting is one of a series of representations taken from historical
photographs by Henry King (1855–1923). Entitled ‘Australian Aborigines
New South Wales’, these photographs do not identify the people shown
or what specific year they were taken. As part of the Rex Nan Kivell
Collection, they are now held in trust at the National Library of Australia.
This picture is the first of a series dealing with the ethnographic
objectification of our ancestors as Indigenous Australians. I question
as to why these photographs continue to remain unconnected to their
descendants and from their nations today. I painted these pictures as a
personal decolonizing process whereby I investigate other examples of
such imagery. I gain a deeper understanding of the experience shared
by my great great-grandmother, Melbin who was taken to England as
an exhibit in 1883–84 with her baby daughter, my great grandmother,
Mary Oliver.
Unidentified: Aboriginal New South Wales
Artist/Maker and role
Julie DOWLING: artist
synthetic polymer paint, red ochre, glitter and metallic paint on canvas
80.0 x 50.0 cm
Credit line
Gift of Brigitte Braun, 2017
The State Art Collection, The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession number

This is one of the paintings in our collection.