‘The National Picture: overwhelming reminder of wilful gaps in Australia’s history‘, Guardian Australia, 14 May 2018
Review of a new exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, ‘The National Picture: the art of Tasmania’s Black War’. The exhibition, running till 29 July, is
provocative beyond comfort even for those more conversant with the darkest episodes of Australian history.
The National Picture speaks truth to ignorance. But it also bellows it to political power at such a critical national moment, a moment when we have a federal government that is wilfully deaf to the voices of Indigenous Australians demanding honesty about the past.
The work of Benjamin Duterrau is examined closely. This quote stood out, from the so-called Protector of Aborigines, GA Robinson:
The system adopted towards the Aboriginal inhabitants is, I believe, quite unique … history does not furnish an instance where a whole nation has been removed by so mild and human a policy.
NGA curator, Greg Lehman, says ‘this was the kindest genocide ever conceived’.
Paul Daley is one of Honest History’s distinguished supporters. He has a chapter in The Honest History Book. The chapter is titled ‘ Our most important war: The legacy of frontier conflict’.
There are resources here on Australia’s First Peoples, including items on the Frontier Wars.