The Colonial-Collective Problem
12 – 30 April 2016
Article below by Carrie McCarthy Arts Writer
David Jones is a crusader. A man of Butchalla, Dalungdalee heritage, he wields his art as a sword with which to cut down some of the most revered myths upon which our national pride is based – stories of our colonial past, of Cook’s arrival and the bushmen explorers, and the foundation of a nation on the back of the ANZACs. Critiquing the instititionalised and casual racism he sees breeding through ignorance and denial, Jones highlights the inconvenient truths that risk tainting the pioneer/settler narrative that underpins so much of this country’s identity.
It is confronting to discover that everything we know about our cultural heritage is based on denial and historical revision – that the stories, legends and folklore are nothing more than fantastical re-imaginings of a sad and bloody past. From May Gibbs’ milky-skinned gumnut babies, to the Man From Snowy River and The Wild Colonial Boy, we’ve covered this black land with white stories at every turn.
Indigenous voices are largely excluded from historical records of early conflicts, yet their stories persist in the whispers of the trees and lands that bore witness to the violence. Our indigenous oral traditions and sites are powerful reminders that history has never adequately been told, and that it is up to white Australia to validate the grief and right the wrongs.
David Jones, through his intense gaze and unapologetically acerbic commentary on modern Australian society, seeks to tackle the cognitive dissonance with which Australia views its past and demand that we delve deeper into our collective history for answers to The Colonial Collective Problem.