2016/0063 therewasafall

therewasafall

Artist

Vernon AH KEE
Aboriginal/Indigenous
Birth:
1967
 in
Innisfail, Queensland

Artwork

Title
therewasafall
Date
2015
Medium/Material
synthetic polymer paint on Belgian linen
Dimensions
180.0 x 240.0 cm (Height x Width x Depth)
Credit line
Purchased 2016
State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession Number
2016/0063
Currently on display (GALLERY 9 in GALLERY BUILDING)

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Extended Label

There was a fall is composed of words from the Queensland Coroner’s report into the death of thirty-six year old Mulrunji (Cameron) Doomadgee, who died in police custody on Palm Island, in 2004. On its release, the report was read out by the then mayor of Palm Island, Erykah Kyle, to residents who gathered in the town square. Footage of the mayor reading out these exact words is included at the start of the tall man video, which sits adjacent. While at the watch-house, Doomadgee sustained four broken ribs and his liver was split in two.Upon learning of these horrific injuries, Lex Wotton and other residents expressed their grief and anger. The police station, court house and home of the officer-in-charge were subsequently set alight. Lex Wotton, who presents as the proactive muscular figure in the tall man video, was later convicted for inciting a riot. In 2008, he was sentenced to seven years in prison. During his imprisonment, and after his release on parole in 2010, a gag order was placed on Wotton, which prohibited him from speaking to the media or at public events. The gag was lifted in 2014.The police officer charged with Doomadgee’s death was found not guilty. Doomadgee’s eighteen year old son took his life in 2006.

Curatorial insightThis work of art from the artist’s tall man series explores two related events: the death of thirty-six year old Cameron Doomadgee, who died in police custody on Palm Island in 2004; and the activism and later jailing of Palm Island resident, Lex Wotton, who publicly stood up against this injustice. Cameron Doomadgee died one hour after being arrested for causing public nuisance. At the police station, Doomadgee sustained four broken ribs, a ruptured spleen and his liver was split in two. His injuries were likened by the pathologist to those of plane crash victims.The words in therewasafall are from the Queensland Coroner’s report into Doomadgee’s death. On its release, the report was read out by the then mayor of Palm Island, Erykah Kyle, to the local Aboriginal residents who gathered in the town square. Upon learning of these horrific injuries, Lex Wotton and others expressed their grief and anger. The police station, court house and home of the officer-in-charge were set on fire. In 2008, Lex Wotton was convicted for inciting a riot and sentenced to seven years in prison.During imprisonment, and after his release on parole in 2010, the Queensland government prohibited Wotton from speaking to the media or at public events. The gag was lifted in 2014. Sargeant Chris Hurley, the police officer charged with Doomadgee’s death, was found not guilty of manslaughter. (AGWA, 2016)

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Vernon id: 22545