2017/0047 Making her mark

Making her mark

Artist

Julie DOWLING
Aboriginal/Indigenous
Birth:
30 Jan 1969
 in
Subiaco, Perth, Western Australia

Artwork

Title
Making her mark
Date
2003
Medium/Material
synthetic polymer paint, red ochre, glitter and metallic paint on canvas
Dimensions
83.5 x 65.8 cm (Height x Width x Depth)
Credit line
Gift of Brigitte Braun, 2017
State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession Number
2017/0047
Currently not on display

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Extended Label

This painting represents my great-grandmother, Mary Latham (néeOliver). Stories of “Granny” were passed to us by our mother who dearlyloved her maternal grandmother.In this paining, I show Granny learning to write her name which neverreally happened. Throughout her life, Granny Latham had to ask moreliterate people to write for her. As a Badimia woman, she was consideredby both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in our country as atruly remarkable woman. She could muster horses and cattle for longdistances. She could track lost children and identify poisonous plantskilling the stock of the white squatters. For Badimia people, she was ahealer, a mid-wife, a spiritual custodian or as our mother referred to her,a shaman. Granny could speak several First Nation languages as wellas English. Yet, her children (our grandmother Mollie and Great-AuntDorothy) were stolen from her. Without the ability to write, Granny waslimited in her capacity to stop officially sanctioned abduction of her twoyoungest children.I painted her idealised as a young woman surrounded by herthumbprints and the ‘X’ mark around her head while she is practicingwriting her name.

Artist statement, 2018This painting represents my great-grandmother, Mary Latham (née Oliver). Stories of 'Granny' were passed to us by our mother who dearly loved her maternal grandmother. In this painting, I show Granny learning to write her name which never really happened. Throughout her life, Granny Latham had to ask more literate people to write for her. As a Badimia woman, she was considered by both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in our country as a truly remarkable woman. She could muster horses and cattle for long distances. She could track lost children and identify poisonous plants killing the stock of the white squatters. For Badimia people, she was a healer, a mid-wife, a spiritual custodian or as our mother referred to her, a shaman. Granny could speak several First Nation languages as well as English. Yet, her children (our grandmother Mollie and Great-Aunt Dorothy) were stolen from her. Without the ability to write, Granny was limited in her capacity to stop officially sanctioned abduction of her two youngest children. I painted her idealised as a young woman surrounded by her thumbprints and the 'X' mark around her head while she is practicing writing her name.

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