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Julie Dowling

Julie Dowling, Oottheroongoo (your country) 2008 (1)

Julie Dowling
Oottheroongoo (your country) 2008 (video still)
Image courtesy: The artist and Brigitte Braun Gallery, Melbourne

Julie Dowling, Oottheroongoo (your country) 2008 (2)

Julie Dowling
Oottheroongoo (your country) 2008 (video still)
Image courtesy: The artist and Brigitte Braun Gallery, Melbourne

Julie Dowling

b.1969, Perth
Badimaya/Widi/Yamatji people
Lives and works in Perth

Journeys aiding memory are something we are all familiar with. For the most part, they take the form of viewing a family photo album or reliving and sharing oral histories. In Julie Dowling’s Oottheroongoo (your country), we are invited to accompany the artist on a recent journey to her ancestral country. As a powerful Nyoongar woman, she has retained a strong sense of identity, maintaining the remnant culture of her Badimaya people in the face of 200 years of European interference. The four-channel video installation is unashamedly low-tech, using a simple slideshow over musical score. The slides of family members, each of whom were forced away from their culture, act to insert them back into their heritage. Fast-paced video or high-definition images are dismissed in favour of grainy images which evoke a sense of recollection and memory. Throughout Oottheroongoo, Dowling has interrogated and undermined the systems of disempowerment that generations of her family, particularly women, have been subjected to. Seen in this light, the work is about re-empowerment. This journey ends with Dowling leaving her Badimaya country and returning to Perth, where she continues to live as a strong, informed, urban Badimaya woman in the modern world.

Julie Dowling is internationally recognised for her paintings and drawings. Her work in media art comprises aspects of video and photography as tools for documenting herself and a wider unfolding personal journey to her ancestral country. Dowling graduated from the Claremont School of Art and Curtin University in Perth and has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally, including a group exhibition at Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne; the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; and the 2000 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art. In 2007 she was included in the National Gallery of Australia’s national Indigenous art triennial ‘Culture Warriors’.