Oc­ca­sion marked

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Art - Tanya Mac­naughton

THIS year marks the 50th an­niver­sary of the 1967 Referendum that re­moved two ref­er­ences in the Aus­tralian Con­sti­tu­tion dis­crim­i­nat­ing against Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple.

Noon­gar woman and vis­ual arts cu­ra­tor Clothilde Bullen, for­mer Art Gallery of WA In­dige­nous Art cu­ra­tor and now at the Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Art in Syd­ney, de­cided her home­town of Perth should mark the sig­nif­i­cant event with an ex­hi­bi­tion.

When the Sky Fell is a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween PICA and Abo­rig­i­nal Art Cen­tre Hub of WA, cu­rated by Bullen and fea­tur­ing 70 works of ev­ery medium.

“There’s in­stal­la­tion, sculp­tures, works on can­vas, a lot of ochre, found ob­jects, satel­lite dishes and sand an­i­ma­tion video work,” Bullen said.

“I tried to get a di­ver­sity to show peo­ple that Abo­rig­i­nal art isn’t just paint­ings on a wall.”

Bullen said the ex­hi­bi­tion’s ti­tle was in­spired by the story of Chicken Lit­tle, who ran around telling peo­ple “The sky is fall­ing” and noth­ing hap­pened.

“When I was talk­ing to artists and com­mu­ni­ties, they were all say­ing it was a hugely sym­bolic event, but there were some re­ally neg­a­tive things that came out of it, some pos­i­tive things and a lot of peo­ple said it didn’t af­fect their lives at a grass­roots level,” she said.

“Lots of peo­ple just got on with their lives, still main­tain­ing a con­nec­tion to coun­try and cul­ture, de­spite what­ever pre­vail­ing gov­ern­ment pol­icy was hap­pen­ing at the time.

“Each com­mu­nity has their own iden­tity and own sense of what hap­pened af­ter the referendum and the con­se­quences of that for them.

“There’s a real di­ver­sity of ideas and some are quite chal­leng­ing. That’s what the aim is: to chal­lenge peo­ple and their ideas of what the referendum meant for Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ties.

“I have top and bot­tom floors of PICA to­tally filled with Abo­rig­i­nal art; what a won­der­ful thing.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d470917

Cu­ra­tor Clothilde Bullen with artist Mervyn Street, from Fitzroy Cross­ing.

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