Get Up, Stand Up
Indigenous Australian Art Collection

19 Dec 2020 – 20 Nov 2022
QAG | Gallery 2 | Free

Drawn from the Collection, this exhibition of works by Indigenous Queensland artists demonstrates the makers’ engagement with cultural, familial, historical and political movements, their assertion of sovereignty and desire for political and social equality.

The exhibition borrows its name from the 1973 song ‘Get up, stand up’ — synonymous with social resistance movements globally — written by visionary Rastafarians Bob Marley and The Wailers. In the 1970s, many Indigenous Australian social movements adopted Marley’s reggae anthems as their own, recognising their commonalities at a time when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community services were being established across the country. His music lent a voice to those who felt unheard and mobilised likeminded people searching for change.

From the latter half of the nineteenth century until the middle of the twentieth century, Indigenous peoples’ freedom of movement was severely restricted, with the deliberate intention of interrupting ancient lines of cultural knowledge and practices. However, the early colonial era introduced new artistic practices and materials, allowing artists to later celebrate their newfound freedom to practise culture — particularly ceremony and dance — and to move freely through ancestral lands.

A significant group of works reflect these ongoing familial experiences of involuntary movement off Country, away from family and onto the missions and reserves that provided both sanctuary and oppression; while defiant protest works demand to be heard.


Goobalathaldin Dick Roughsey, Lardil people, Australia 1924‑85 / First Missionary, Mornington Island

Goobalathaldin Dick Roughsey, Lardil people, Australia 1924‑85 / First Missionary, Mornington Island 1977 / Synthetic polymer paint on composition board / 60 x 90cm / Purchased 2019 with funds from the Mather Foundation through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Goobalathaldin Dick Roughsey/Copyright Agency.

Patrick Thaiday, Kulkalgaw Ya people, Australia b.1963 / Zugub (Dance machines) 2011

Patrick Thaiday, Kulkalgaw Ya people, Australia b.1963 / Zugub (Dance machines) (detail) 2011 / Wood, galvanized steel, nails, synthetic polymer paint, nylon string / 20 pieces: 75 x 85 x 23cm (each) / Purchased 2011 with funds from Thomas Bradley through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Patrick Thaiday .

Shirley Macnamara, Indjalandji/Alyawarr, Australia b.1949  / Skullcap 2013

Shirley Macnamara, Indjalandji/Alyawarr, Australia b.1949 / Skullcap 2013 / Spinifex (Triodia pungens), red ochre, emu feathers, spinifex resin and synthetic polymer fixative / 14 x 21cm (diam.) / Purchased 2014 with funds from Gina Fairfax through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Shirley Macnamara.

Vernon Ah Kee, Kuku Yalanji/Waanyi/Yidinyji/Guugu Yimithirr people, Australia b.1967 / neither pride nor courage 2006

Vernon Ah Kee, Kuku Yalanji/Waanyi/Yidinyji/Guugu Yimithirr people, Australia b.1967 / neither pride nor courage (detail) 2006 / Charcoal, crayon and synthetic polymer paint on canvas / Triptych: 174 x 240cm (each panel) / The James C. Sourris AM Collection. Gift of James C. Sourris through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation 2007. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Vernon Ah Kee/Copyright Agency.

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