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Tony Albert

Tony_Albert,_Sorry_2008.jpg

Tony Albert | Australia b.1981 | Girramay people | Sorry 2008 | Found kitsch objects applied to vinyl letters | 99 objects: 200 x 510 x 10cm (installed) | The James C Sourris Collection. Purchased 2008 with funds from James C Sourris through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

Tony Albert, Sorry 2008
Tony Albert                                    
Australia  b.1981
Girramay people
Sorry 2008
Found kitsch objects applied to vinyl letters
99 objects: 200 x 510 x 10cm (installed)
The James C Sourris Collection.
Purchased 2008 with funds from James C Sourris through the Queensland Art
Gallery Foundation

Tony Albert

Sorry 2008

13 February 2008 is an historic date etched into Australia’s national memory. On this day, Australia witnessed one of its most overtly optimistic displays of unity and national pride, when Prime Minister Kevin Rudd offered a formal apology to Indigenous Australians. It was a day when, in the eyes of many, the country grew up.

Here, Tony Albert has captured this outpouring of emotion. He introduces us to a forest of faces, each sharing elements of history with those stolen from their people, land and culture. Each represents a false identity, manufactured black faces made to fit white society.

The artist also revels in the sense of irony in the work, with the impetus of such a momentous and joyous event being an apology. On yet another level, Albert presents us simply with a word — bold letters on a wall — indicative of an Indigenous Australian response to the apology. While it was an important symbolic gesture, many Indigenous Australians are waiting to see real change within society before fully accepting the Prime Minister’s apology and speech as more than words.