Just how Aboriginal are you..?

Sandra Hill

Balingup, Australia

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Artist's Description

120cm wide x 90cm high
Oil on Plywood panel

The silhouettes of me as a child represent both my white and my black heritage. On the right hand side the ‘Dreaming Serpent’ or the Waugal depicts my cultural origins. The background represents my affinity with the land; my traditional country, and affords me a strong sense of belonging and acceptance.

The left hand side depicts my experience as an alienated black child growing up in a white world. The dictionary meaning of white is scrawled into the muddy and confused background and the words and phrases used by the ‘welfare’ to determine our ethnicity or genetic ‘level of Aboriginality’ are written inside the figure.

The words, which were widely used by the authorities in times past are; full blood, half-caste, quarter-caste, quadroon and octoroon. All of these terms, when used in association with Aboriginal people continue to be both discriminatory and divisive and more significantly, on a personal level, still hurts us deeply. Both sides of the painting are separated by the grey scale, which symbolises literally, how we were classified in terms of our genetic disposition and colour.

Artwork Comments

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