Aboriginal art demands dignity

Boomalli Art Gallery. Photo by Sabine Kacha.

Amnesty International’s Demand Dignity and Eora College art exhibition opened at the Boomalli Aboriginal Arts Gallery on September 22 to a crowd of 50 people. The exhibition was based on the theme of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The artworks were produced by talented students from the Eora TAFE College.

The Demand Dignity campaign aims to eradicate poverty by making human rights law. As part of the campaign, Amnesty International has criticised Australia’s NT intervention policy, which was launched by the Coalition government of John Howard in 2007.

The NT intervention targeted remote Aboriginal communities, replacing half of welfare recipients’ income with a Basics Card, which can only be spent on certain things in certain shops.

Ken Welsh, the Demand Dignity campaign convenor, gave a brief introduction before Lynette Riley, the Academic Coordinator of the Koori Centre at the University of Sydney, gave a welcome to country.

Anthony Mitchell, from NSW Amnesty International, said the NT intervention breached parts of the UN declaration. Nicole Watson, from the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at UTS, and Bronwyn Bancroft, an Aboriginal artist and designer from the Boomalli Aboriginal Arts Gallery, also spoke.

Eora student Mark Anthony Hampton exhibited a painting titled “Intervention”. When asked to paint something he was passionate about, he was inspired to do a painting of the Basics Card, because his partner is a Torres Strait Islander who had been placed on the Basics Card.

All artwork from the exhibition will be shown at the Eora College End of Year Exhibition, from November 16 to 23.