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Fiona FOLEY

Badtjala people

Maryborough, Queensland, Australia born 1964

DISPERSED 2008 Place made: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Materials & Technique: sculptures, charred laminated wood, polished aluminium, blank bullets charred laminated wood, polished aluminium, 303'' calibre bullets (blank)

Edition Notes: Edition 3
Dimensions: each 51.0 h x 25.0 w cm overall 51.0 h x 500.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2008
Accession No: NGA 2008.666.A-I
Image rights: © Fiona Foley

In one loaded word Fiona Foley tells of centuries of an unspoken Australian history.

On the nineteenth-century frontier a special police force was established to intimidate and dislocate resident Aboriginal populations through violence and killing. As, even then, for many early white settlers the thought of the wanton massacre of groups of Aboriginal people was abhorrent and legally criminal, a new language and set of rules was invented for this police force—‘to disperse’ became the euphemism for ‘to kill’.

This new, brutal paramilitary police force, dubbed the Native Police or the Native Mounted Police, was made up of small divisions where one white officer commanded a group of Aboriginal men recruited from far-flung or rival lands with one purpose: to eradicate any Aboriginal populations perceived to be problematic.

No official documents made order nor mention of killing Aboriginal people, instead orders were given to ‘disperse’—yet official reports of ‘dispersals’ coincide with local evidence of massacres of Aboriginal people.

To those who know the history of advancing Australia, the meaning and intention of DISPERSED 2008 is obvious: lest we forget. For the majority of people who know little about the racial relationships of early Australia, the work is somewhat curious. Its scale and singular focus prompt the viewer to learn more of their own history.

Foley’s work also provides important insight into the contemporary Aboriginal relationship with figures of authority. Some would argue that today little has changed and there remains little reason for Aboriginal people to trust the ‘bullymen’.[1]

Bruce McLean

[1] Bullymen is an Aboriginal–English pidgin word for policemen.


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

福利·菲奥娜 (FOLEY, Fiona)
《消失》(DISPERSED)
2008年
焦层木、抛光铝合金、空点
51.00(高) x 25.00(宽)厘米(每个字母)
51.00(高) x 500.00(宽)厘米(整体)
2008年购买
2008.666.A-I

菲奥娜·福利用一个具有多重含义的单词讲述了数百年不言而喻的澳大利亚历史。

十九世纪的边疆地区成立了特警队,使用暴力和杀戮恐吓并驱逐原住民居民。即便是当时,对于很多早期白人殖民者来说,肆意大规模屠杀原住民的想法令人憎恶且违法,于是为特警队发明的一种新语言和一套规则——“消失”变成了“杀戮”的委婉语。

这支新成立的残暴准军事化特警队被称为本土警察(Native Police)或本土骑警(Native Mounted Police),分为小分队,各分队由一名白人警官指挥,警员是从遥远或敌对部落招募来的原住民男子,目的只有一个:消灭任何被视为麻烦的原住民群。

没有发出命令的官方文件,也没有提及屠杀原住民,相反,发出了“消失”命令——关于“消失”的报告正好与原住民大屠杀的地方证据相吻合。

对于那些了解澳大利亚推进历史的人来说,创作于2008年的《消失》的意义和意图显而易见——永志不忘。对于大多数不太了解早期澳大利亚种族关系的人而言,这幅作品多少有点古怪。作品的尺度和单一焦点激发赏画者更多了解自己的历史。

福利作品也表现出对当代原住民与当权者关系的深刻理解。有人可能会认为,今天没什么改变,原住民几乎没有理由去信赖“霸王”。

Bruce McLean
布鲁斯·麦克林


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra