Djooroot (track, path)
Artist statement, c.2009This work represents the significant events in my life. The graph begins with the first six years of my life, the short time I shared with my parents and siblings as a family. It 'tracks' the removal of my siblings and I from my mother and father, by the Welfare in 1958 and continues on through to the other significant events of my life. The track dips down after my removal and subsequent placement in Sister Kate's Orphanage for Half Caste Children. It begins to rise after my placement at age 7 with the Ashby's, my white foster family and continues to journey upwards only dipping downward when I lost my dear father, Herbert Hill in 1990, my beloved white mum, Linda Ashby in 1997 and Doreen Hill, my inspirational birth mother in 2003. The reunion (1985) with both of my parents 27 years after we were removed is one of the high points and the loss of my beloved older sister Barbara in August 2007, one of the lowest in my life’s journey. This painting was also Barbara’s journey, we grew up in the same foster home throughout our childhood and we shared our lives and our experiences. Sadly, she didn’t get to hear the Government’s formal apology to the stolen generation and the Aboriginal nations of Australia, something that she and I longed for all of our lives. Barbara and her story, our story, will always live on in this painting. Following the loss of Barbara I left my mother’s country (Narrogin) and moved to Balingup, my father’s country, where I worked on this and all of the other works. This painting is a tribute to her life and all that she gave to me and I dedicate this work to her. At long last, here in this place, this work, I feel as though I have come home again.