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 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.
Janet Fieldhouse, Kalaw Lagaw Ya people, Australia b.1971 / Dance series: Transformation 4 2009 / Flexible porcelain / Four parts: 18.5 x 4.5cm (diam.); 6 x 34.5 x 6.5cm; 9 x 32 x 10cm; 25.5 x 5.5cm (diam.) / Purchased 2009 with funds from the Bequest of Grace Davies and Nell Davies through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Janet Fieldhouse.
Naomi Hobson, Kaantju/Umpila people, Australia b.1978 / A Warrior without a Weapon 3 2018 / Digital photographic print on paper, ed. 1/6 (+2 A.P.) / Purchased 2019 with funds from the Future Collective through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Naomi Hobson .
Evelyn McGreen, Guguu Yimithirr people, Australia b.1942 / Wawu bajin dhangay bulganghi (Strainer for washing clams and shellfish) (from 'Wawu bajin (Spirit baskets)' portfolio 2010 / Hand‑coloured linocut on paper, ed. 14/50 / 53.5 x 38cm / Purchased 2012 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Evelyn McGreen/Copyright Agency.
Danie Mellor, Mamu/Ngadjonji and Anglo-Australian heritage, Australia b.1971 / The pleasure and vexation of history 2017 / Wax pastel, wash with oil pigment, watercolour and pencil on paper / 220 x 140cm / The Taylor Family Collection. Purchased 2019 with funds from Paul, Sue and Kate Taylor through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Danie Mellor.
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 .