Lorna Munro, Merindah Donnelly & Tjanara Talbot (NSW)
Read the manifesto here.
In Australia, we have an unnatural obsession with ‘discovery’. White Australia celebrates the birth of a nation, while black Australia mourns the death of one and are told ‘get over’ the genocide that painted the landscape blood red. People like James Cook, Arthur Phillip, William Lawson and Gregory Blaxland are applauded as heroes, while Aboriginal warriors and heroes like Pemulwuy were persecuted, murdered and forgotten. These white men continually failed to find safe passage through the rugged terrain, until they learnt to follow rivers and Aboriginal people. The crossing of the Blue Mountains in 1813 was heralded as a massive feat: the Australian bush finally conquered by land-hungry merchants and would-be farmers, whose ancestors have pillaged, plundered and oppressed Aboriginal people in their own lands ever since.
Blaksland and Lawless presents an irreverent and political alternate universe where Aboriginal women are the explorers and conquerors. Where Australia was colonised by Aboriginal women instead of white European men. Through large-scale photographs displayed across Melbourne streets, Blaksland and Lawless shines a light on the ludicrous nature of colonialism, patriarchy and the idea of ‘discovery’. The images represent the multifaceted, complex layers of both the contemporary and traditional Aboriginal female identity, with the subjects wielding very real weapons of mass destruction in a variety of settings.
Together, artists Lorna Munro, Merindah Donnelly and Tjanara Talbot turn a matriarchal lense on invasion, and the unceded and unresolved political climates and territories that we live and work in today.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, and the NSW Government through Arts NSW.