WHITE WOMAN BLACK HEART
Acrylic on Canvas 2m x2m
By Munganbana Norman Miller
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His long flowing white beard and hair and bushy eyebrows framed a face with big soulful brown eyes as Aboriginal elder Burnum Burnum looked at her and said, “You may be white but you have a black heart, as you understand my people and feel our heart.’ With these words ringing in her ears, the blue-eyed young blond woman got involved with helping the Aboriginal people of Mapoon north of Weipa move back to their land in 1974. They had been moved off at gunpoint by Queensland government police in 1963 to make way for mining which never occurred. It was a matter of mass kidnapping and arson as their hand-built homes and village were burned down so they wouldn’t return.
The two key Aboriginal people involved in the move back are depicted here with Barbara Miller, the young white woman. The elder on the left is Jean Jimmy who made some money shooting crocodiles to go to the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (FCAATSI) meetings in Canberra to tell her story which she also wrote down.
The man in the middle is Jerry Hudson, who with his wife Ina, led the move back. He was head stockman at nearby Aurukun and enlisted Barbara to help them move back. They faced much intimidation from the government’s white manager at Weipa South Aboriginal community (now Napranum). Jerry was taken to court for stealing a brumby and Barbara was taken to court for trespassing on Weipa South as the Queensland Aborigines Act was still in operation where permits were required to live on or visit a reserve.
As she brought in support from the outside world and helped the people return, the young white woman found her home as well – as part of an Aboriginal family through marriage. Artist Munganbana, who painted this large canvas, is her husband.
Cairns will soon be celebrating NAIDOC Week and recognizing the contribution of Indigenous people to the life of the nation. An exciting new collection of Aboriginal art on the theme of Rainforest and Reef by rainforest Aboriginal artist Munganbana or Norman Miller will be exhibited during NAIDOC Week in the Cairns City Place. The work features landscapes, seascapes and riverscapes and features many of the animal, bird, plant and sea life of the region. The exhibition will be in the C.1907 Contemporary Artspace from 9-20 July from 10am – 6pm with free entry. An opening will be held on Thursday 11 July from 5.30-7.30pm with light refreshments at which Munganbana will be launching a “boomerang petition.” The art exhibition is sponsored by the Cairns Regional Council.
Munganbana says “I paint from who I am and I paint from the rich natural and cultural landscape that I am part of and which inspires me. I am inspired by my Creator, by my family and by my Aboriginal heritage as a member of the Jirrbal, Bar-Barrum and Tableland Yidinji tribes. I was born in Atherton and grew up at Wondecla in north Queensland. I am part of the rainforest Bama or people. My name is Munganbana which means ‘Mountain Water’ in the Jirrbal language. The name Mountain Water describes my work – powerful and peaceful – and the land from which I come – crystal cascades and volcanic lakes.”
Acrylic on canvas – 860mm x 840mm
Limited edition prints will be available
Front Cover Artwork
This painting is part of a reconciliation theme and the important thing I want to bring across is as a gathering of people how we can work in that good partnership/relationship way. How we can build on and encourage and recognize the diversity, not only in our nation, but also in our cities and towns.
Acrylic on canvas –
1200mm x 900mm
$2,500, shipping free
Limited edition prints may be available
The 40 year anniversary of the 1967 referendum on 27 May 2007 is a moment of such historical significance for my people and this nation of Australia that I had to capture the moment in my painting. It is a matter of seizing the moment. It is a watershed time that changed history and the swirling waters in my painting reflect that. In fact, the movement of the waves surrounding the nation are vigorous, refreshing and life-giving. A map of Australia is in the centre of the painting with theTorres Strait Islands impressionistically depicted to the north east as there are two indigenous groups in Australia.
I was inspired to paint this canvas as a way of commemorating Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s saying “sorry” to the stolen generation of Aboriginal people on 13 February 2008. I wanted to present this painting as a gift to the Federal Parliament to say “thank you” on behalf of the Australian people, indigenous and non-indigenous. It is my hope that it be hung in Parliament House as a reminder of what happened.
Gift to Solly Kaplinski, English Desk, International Relations and Asia-Pacific Regional Director, Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, Israel 5 January 2004Limited edition lino (oil) prints may be available on the same theme
In the painting, the Israeli and Australian flags are shown to demonstrate the special relationship between Australia and Israel based on the ANZAC victory at Be’er-Sheva (Beersheba) on 31 October 1917. Continue reading “Shaping History”