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The Representation of the Struggle for Rights in Contemporary Aboriginal Painting

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  1. Introduction
  2. The theme of 'Deaths in Custody'
    1. The problem with too many deaths
  3. The painter Trevor Nickoll's
  4. Conclusion
  5. Appendices
  6. Bibliography

Art is vital for history, as monuments, sculptures, paintings and literary works of art are often the only remaining testimony about ancient times. When dealing with modern or contemporary events, a greater amount of non-artistic material is available; yet art is still important as it can reflect the very personal view of an individual upon a particular aspect or event of his time or of the past. In the last thirty years of the twentieth century, many Aboriginal artists worked on the past of their people, and in particular on the oppression they underwent from European settlers for more than two centuries, with some recurrent themes.

[...] She uses as examples on the one hand the vision of the prisoner of a sunny landscape and the 'Indigenous references' 'whose meanings are not all available to the non-Indigenous viewer', and on the other hand the 'reference to deaths in custody, Aboriginal imprisonment, loneliness.'[9] Nickolls tent embassy events Campbell equal pay facts Campbell, striking for equal pay trouble with Rolf APPENDICES 1. Robert Campbell Junior, Death in Custody Acrylic on canvas; 82.2 x 120 cm, 323/8 x in. The Holmes à Court Collection, Heytesbury, Western Australia. [...]


[...] There is an Aboriginal flag in the middle of the painting, and its colours are repeated in the background, but there, the red looks more like blood. As Howard Morphy puts it, characteristic feature of Robert Campbell Junior's paintings is the contrast between the bright optimism conveyed by the aesthetics of the paintings and the darkness of the themes they explore.'[5] The central point in this painting seems to be that Aborigines were imprisoned because of minor offences but that their fate was far more tragic than expected. [...]

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