February 13th marks a historic day in Indigenous history as the 10th anniversary of Sorry Day. On February 13th in 2008, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd officially and formally apologised to the Stolen Generation for the crimes committed against them. It was an apology that meant a lot to Indigenous Australians, no matter how long overdue, and Art Mob is commemorating the anniversary of the date with a special exhibition.
With their close associations to some members of the Stolen Generation, Art Mob is using this time to bring light to their poignant work that reflects their lives, cultures, and histories.
In her work , Zita Pengarte Wallace tells of the life cycle of the butterfly, the wonder and beauty of the butterfly and the joy of its life after emerging from its cocoon. Taken away from her family in Titjikala, just south of Alice Springs, Zita was raised by nuns in the Tiwi Islands, but after all this time she has remained connected to her roots.
The enduring spirit of her people is present across all of her paintings, celebrating life in all of its colours and shades. , painted in 2015, traces the history of her ancestors, celebrating the language and culture of her people.
Marilyn Davies highlights her ongoing connection to the land in her paintings, making note of the ravages that have happened to the country since the In particular is her connection to fire, as can be seen in , an exploration of the landscape during the bushfires that ravaged Victoria in 2009;
Aboriginal people’s land management systems cared for the country and prevented many of the devastating bushfires we witness today, though these methods have been neglected by non-Indigenous populations. Marilyn’s own story, reflected in all of her works, is one of coming back from devastation and the life that can be birthed after going through fire.
Taken as a young child, Barbara Weir is another artist who knows what is means to come back from devastation — Barbara never had time to say goodbye before she was stolen by social security staff and it was not until she was married that she was able to reconnect with her mother, Indigenous artist Minnie Pwerle.
After her forced taking and education, Barbara returned to the stories of her ancestors for inspiration. Most notable in works like and is the emphasis on birth and new life, while she returns to the natural materials of her mother’s country to create her work and tell the stories of the land she was denied the chance to grow up on.
These artists and more are all members of the Stolen Generation, and this exhibition is highlighting the important stories they have to tell. Paintings are available for purchase through and at the exhibition, which opens on February 13th.