Time to do some serious date saving: Friday April 10th, 6pm at Anna Pappas Gallery, 2-4 Carlton Street Prahran, It’s the launch of the exhibition and zine publication Wallung Githa Unsettled, a photographic series and installation that explodes the euphemism of ‘settlement’ and communicates the violent truth of Australia’s colonial past.
The work is a collaboration long in the making between myself and Gunai Artist Steaphan Paton, and on the night Kamilaroi Artist Reko Rennie will be guest speaker.
The project interprets and acknowledges the colonial violence of the mid 19th century and is shot on battle sites, massacre sites, original homesteads, watering holes and ceremonial grounds central to events in the Gippsland story. A key part of which is the ‘lost white woman of Gippsland,’ a controversial figure said to have been taken captive by ‘ruthless savages’ in the 1830s-1840s, but whose existence was never proven. Many regard her as a cover story for pastoralists acting against the Gunai in the name of ‘rescue’ while really being engaged in a violent conflict for land and pasture.
Playing the role of the ‘White Woman’ in the photographs is Cal Flyn, a Scottish author and relative of the most well known early ‘settler’ of Gippsland (a large region in Victoria’s South East). Her ancestor, Angus McMillan, is credited with being the ‘discoverer’ of Gippsland, but has been clearly implicated as a mass murderer to hundreds of Gunai people.
As a descendent of the survivors from those massacres that McMillan committed, Paton’s collaboration with Flyn and myself (also from Gippsland) heralds a deeply authentic approach to publicly recognising the truth of Gippsland’s past – one that intimately reflects Australia’s national story.
RSVP on the event page and hope to see you there. But if you can’t make it the show is on at Anna Pappas until May 9.