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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)
    51.00(高) x 25.00(宽)厘米(每个字母)
    51.00(高) x 500.00(宽)厘米(整体)



    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。




    Bruce McLean

    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra