Aboriginal protesters evicted by Sotheby’s auction house in Melbourne
Members of Tasmania’s Aboriginal community tried unsuccessfully to stop the auction of three ancestral photographs at Sotheby’s in Melbourne on Tuesday night.
Ruth Langford and Rosie Smith from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre said they asked people not to bid on the three photos which depicted Aboriginal residents of the Oyster Cove settlement near Hobart in the 1860s.
Ms Langford objected to the title under which a photo was listed: “The Last of the Tasmanian Natives”.
"It devalues who we are today," she said.
"The title the ‘Last Tasmanian Natives’, or what we often hear is the last of the full blood Tasmanian Aboriginals, really disregards the strengths and survival of the Aboriginal people here in Tasmania," she said.
She said no-one in the crowd objected to the protest, but they were escorted out by security.
"You should’ve seen the height of this big security guy, and as they jostled us away," she said.
"I was just standing there putting on my jacket on to leave and they’re like pushing me out the door."
Sotheby’s went ahead with the auction and the photos were sold for almost $7,000.
Spokesman Gary Singer told 936 ABC Hobart the title was the original name given by the photographer.
"We don’t want to whitewash history, we present history as it was," he said.
"If we changed the title of those we would be rewriting history, this is what they were called at that time."
"We stopped the auction, we allowed her (Ruth Langford) to say what she wanted to say and we respectfully accept her point of view.
"And then she was asked to leave."
This is disgusting… I’m just lost for words.
**Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are warned that the linked article contains a photograph of the so-called “Last Tasmanian Natives” photo collection.**
This blog is a safespot for Middle Easterns. We’re widely ignored in a lot discourse about racism and I’m hoping with this blog we can bring us into the light. This blog will not do a lot of discussion about Islam because Islam is not the only religion in the Middle East and I want to be as inclusive as possible to all Middle Easterns. I also want this blog to be a place where we can praise and uplift each other. Here you can submit things about your country and then we can fawn over it together!
I would just tell the teacher straight out that creating an “Aboriginal” wall hanging is inappropriate and offensive as it isn’t anyone’s place to replicate or imitate that specific art style if they aren’t Aboriginal themselves. If your teacher understands but dismisses you, I suggest that you take it up with your principle or another person of authority in the school. Also, if you’re okay with this, explain that you will be happy to be doing anything else, but will not complete the task given to you until it is replaced with something that is more respectable as you are not comfortable with appropriating Aboriginal art in any way.
[Edit: You could also bring up the point that “Aboriginal wall hanging” is generalizing and lumping all Aboriginal art styles together. Because of course, art from Arnhem Land would be vastly different to art found in areas of Victoria.]
hello! to begin i’d like to say i’m sorry if you received this twice, my computer had some issues and i’m not sure if it sent through the first time and your blog is a great resource, i’m really happy to have it available!! the next part is this and i’m sorry because it may end up quite long and pretentious sounding - i’m a year 12 student, i’m almost completely irish with very distant aboriginal heritage, no knowledge of where this person in my family was from or who they were (but apparently my some of my teeth (????) have characteristics from their genes (more cusps than most europeans - i think? it’s not important)). what’s important is that my major work is on the topic of australian hypocrisy. my idea is juxtaposition of positive sounding lines from the national anthem with images of things that defy what are supposedly australian values, such as the now endangered powerful owl to go with “our land abounds in nature’s gifts of beauty rich and rare” and cronulla rioters with their flag capes to go with “beneath our radiant southern cross we’ll toil with hearts and hand”
it was suggested to me that i use this famous image of indigenous people, lined up and chained - http://www.gibbriverroad.net/images/aboriginals_1906.jpg - to go with “for we are young and free”, like to say that even though freedom is something we preach here, current australian society is not based on freedom, but on persecution. i’m concerned the use of this image may be distressful, inappropriate or offensive and i’d like to know your opinion (and maybe some followers’ opinions) on whether it would be appropriate to use or not - i decided i’d only use it if i got nothing but positive responses from the indigenous people i ask. once again i’m very sorry that this may have taken some time for you to read through and that i’m very grateful for any response, positive or negative
Your idea for your major work is good and I really like it, but to use that image without the consent of the descendants of those in it would be inappropriate and offensive. Of course if you had permission, it would be a different story.
Also, as much as Australia’s history should be critiqued and analyzed and as much as creating art works (I’m presuming this is for an art subject) that do these things create important discussions, the Aboriginal people in that image already have a story. They are not there for others to use as a template to then add in their own creative spirit. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot take inspiration from that image and create something that is completely your own.
I can’t really give you ideas because you’d have to come up with them yourself, but if you want to follow the feel of that image then reading up on the massacres, missions, slavery and deaths in custody is a good starting point.
Best of luck and send another message if you have more questions. And as always I welcome any of my followers input here!