Yagu Gurlbarl (Big Secret)
Bunbury Regional Art Galleries are currently open with social distancing and hygiene measures in place.
ART ON THE MOVE touring exhibition Yagu Gurlbarl (Big Secret) presents a collection of works by renowned artist Julie Dowling. Yagu Garlburl (Big Secret) centers on the theme of slavery of First Nations Peoples in Australia, both in past centuries and in current Australian society.
The exhibition presents a series of highly decorated figurative artworks that will draw in and engage the viewer. Closer inspection reveals a strong political edge challenging the myth that First Nations Peoples were/are lazy and a drain on society. The beauty presented in the works becomes a metaphor for the resilience and wisdom of First Nation’s Peoples to overcome the narrow narrative that has mythologised colonisation. This is a unique opportunity for the regions to present a solo exhibition featuring a significant Western Australian artist.From diving for pearls, back breaking farm labour and minding children of their colonial masters in past centuries, to present day work for government benefits Dowling forces Australians to face racist discourses. The works in Dowling’s exhibition speak of these atrocities and show how beautifully resilient her people are despite this. Between 1800s and 1970s, Aboriginal workers in Australia were enslaved, denied wages that were stolen by corrupt officials and employers and generations of First Nations Australians were locked into a cycle of poverty that still exists today.
A clear example of the inequality of wages is referenced in the 2016 Australian Census which states that 20% of First Nations Peoples reported a weekly household of $1000 or more compared with 41% of the rest of the population.
“The works in Dowling’s exhibition speak of the atrocities of slavery and show how beautifully resilient our people are despite this.” – Carol Dowling
ART ON THE MOVE would like to acknowledge that Australias First peoples are the traditional custodians of this land and we pay our respects to the Elders both past, present and future for their unique contribution to the cultural life of communities across Australia.