Lin ONUS, Dingoes Enlarge 1 /1


Yorta Yorta people

Australia 1948 – 1996

Dingoes [Dingoes : (1) Birth ((2) Anal fetish (3) Why do dogs lick themselves (4) Dingo proof fence (5) Trap] 1989 Description: comprising Birth, showing a mother dingo and three pups | Anal fetish, showing one dog sniffing another | Why do dogs lick themselves?, showing a dingo licking itself | Dingo proof fence, showing a `spirit' dingo the colour
Place made: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Materials & Technique: sculptures, synthetic polymer paint on fibreglass, wire and metal an installation containing five units

Dimensions: installation (variable)
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1990
Accession No: NGA 90.1085.A-H
Image rights: © Lin Onus. Licensed by Viscopy

Lin Onus developed an overt self-identification with the dingo during a trip to Lake Eyre in the 1980s. Witnessing firsthand this much maligned animal in its natural habitat, Onus noted its cunning adaptability and tough survival instincts, despite natural and introduced obstacles. Seeing analogies with the postcolonial experiences of Indigenous people, Onus used the dingo in a number of works as a totemic signifier of himself and as a metaphor for the Aboriginal diaspora. Dingoes 1989 represents Onus’s first foray into fibreglass sculpture and reveals his wry humour, technical finesse and commitment to social justice.

Comprised of five sculptural vignettes, the installation represents a panorama of experiences and behaviours of the Australian dingo. Beginning, conceptually, with a female dingo and her tiny pups, the installation ends with a dingo wedged in chain-link fencing and another lying dead in a painful trap.

The laying of traps endorses a mind-set that designates dingoes as pests. Similarly, the dingo fence, which began to crisscross the Australian continent from 1880, played into internalised fears of the wild Australian native. The fence—one of the longest in the world—was designed to protect introduced livestock and to exclude dingoes from hunting on their usual ranges. Using these mechanisms of control as a symbol of the mistreatment and dispossession of Aboriginal people, Dingoes also points to a historical and collective unease with the Australian environment.

Stephen Gilchrist

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Franchesca Cubillo and Wally Caruana (eds) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art: collection highlights National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2010

Through a sense of humour and empathy, these works challenge perceptions of fear and distaste about this often maligned Australian animal.1

Anal fetish is one of a group of six sculptures of dingoes by Lin Onus. While at Lake Eyre, Lin Onus discovered the dingoes: animals with strong survival instincts, skill and dignity. He saw strong parallels between the dingoes and Aboriginal people – the fight against extinction, the survival of a race, the adaptation to new and imposed environments. The dingoes became like a totem in his life and art and he made them uniquely Aboriginal by painting stripes along their bodies in the four colours traditionally created from natural pigments (white, ochre, red and black).

Anal fetish is the second of the series of dingoes created by Lin Onus; he started with birth and finished the series with death. He wanted to represent the full extent of life from the beginning to the sometimes-cruel ending (such as the trap). In this work there is a game played, as the sculpture is beautiful and expressive, it also conveys a dramatic story with strong association to Indigenous life.

Dingoes were the first sculptures made by Lin Onus using fibreglass, and his dog Mirrigarn was the model for the series.

Gloria Morales

1Wally Caruana, National Gallery of Australia: An introduction to the collection, Canberra: National gallery of Australia, 1998, p.34.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002

欧努斯·林 (ONUS, Lin)

1980年代,去艾尔湖(Lake Eyre)旅游期间,林·欧努斯对澳洲野狗产生了毫不掩饰的自我认同。在自然栖息地亲眼目睹这种饱受诟病的动物,欧努斯注意到,尽管遭遇到了自然与人为障碍,野狗表现出了灵巧的适应性和坚韧的生存本能。看到了野狗与殖民地时期之后土著人遭遇之间的可比性,欧努斯在大量作品中使用野狗图腾符号象征自己,隐喻原住民居民。创作于1989年的《澳洲野狗》标志着欧努斯初涉玻璃纤维雕塑,体现了他的讽刺幽默、娴熟技巧和对社会正义的执着。



Stephen Gilchrist

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra