‘Parody, irony & truth’, is a catch phrase I’ve used consistently to identify the sentiment in my works. And here we celebrate one of the grandest ironies in artistic print his-story… the fact that it has taken approximately two hundred years to observe a First Nations illustrator of an Indigenous themed publication.
Australia’s greatest icons in children’s books were both themed on and produced by white fellas. To add salt to the wound, the first acknowledgement of First Nations spirituality was produced by Ainslie Roberts. Of course there were the ubiquitous Brownie Downing plates… the ‘must have’s’ akin to Albert Namatjira framed prints.
So in this piece I sought to rejig the narrative and create a fun medley that spoke the truths behind the tragedy existing for First Nations peoples of the era. By ostracising the little Aboriginal baby often featured upon Brownie’s plates, we create the prevalent ‘us & them’ story. All of the iconic elite characters distanced from the lonesome little bub, isolated and wondering why she can’t play with that mob.