Balingup artist a finalist in national award

BALINGUP artist Sandra Hill has been announced as a finalist in the 29th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award (Telstra Art Award) for her three dimensional work Sunday with Neville.

Ms Hill created the piece using mixed media to reflect upon the Australian Assimilation Policies of the 1950s and 60s, when attempts were made to superimpose white domestic values over South-West Nyoongar Culture and Aboriginal women.

The centrepiece of the work is a concrete garden ornament of an Aboriginal woman of a kind that were commonly known as "Neville" statues.

The ornament is restored and repainted, and standing on a rectangle of Astroturf surrounded by plastic flowers.

On the wall behind it is part of a picket fence and a painting of an Aboriginal woman holding a shiny square pan with a lunch roast in it, and cooking implements.

"The woman is in a white house, while in the garden behind her is a statue of one of her people as a garden ornament," Ms Hill said.

"It symbolises the absurdity of being assimilated, while in the neighbours' garden the Neville ornaments show their lack of respect.

"The contradiction is that the community wanted us to be white, but at the same time put us in the garden as a strange ornament, which was humiliating.

"The woman in the painting has a big smile and a roast with all the trimmings as a way of showing the lies and deception of putting us in the garden behind the picket fence."

Ms Hill, who is a former Telstra Art Award finalist, has had her work exhibited in various collections around the nation.

She has received international acclaim after being featured in the Longyear Museum of Anthropology, Colgate University, New York, USA.

The 29th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award exhibition opens and award presentations will be made on August 10.

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