Sunday, September 11, 2011

Aboriginal artist Adam Hill's milk crate street art protest

From Blogs.Mirror.Co.Uk, The Ticket: Aboriginal artist Adam Hill's milk crate street art protest
Proof that street art doesn't just come from a spray can, here is Aboriginal artist Adam Hill's work The Crate Land Grab which sprang up in a Sydney street recently.

The painter and cartoonist first exhibited the piece in the Black(s)town Cultural Initiative in 2009, in western Sydney.

My sister snapped this in Addison Road, Marrickville, in the NSW capital's inner-west, where it appeared temporarily one afternoon in the middle of August.

Using a very simple medium it carries a powerful sledgehammer commentary - 'Stolen'.

It is both confrontational and lyrical - a flimsily constructed but unignorable billboard to loss, an accusation left like a giant Postit note or a break-up letter too painful to be read aloud by the aggrieved.

In the block construction of The Crate Land Grab there is too, a vague parallel with the digitised graffiti of French street artist Invader, and of using street art as a means of rebellion.

Made up of 154 'borrowed' black and green milk crates you can read a lot into it.

A comment on Aboriginal land rights or the stolen generation of Aboriginal children perhaps? Or maybe on the Australian fixation with owning a home in the suburbs at the expense of the environment, an encroachment on the land that is sacred to the indigenous population?

Perhaps it's just about nicking milk crates... but I don't think so.

As a medium the milk crates represent both a commonly stolen item (popular with students and DJs) and also an everyday link to the home, the morning milk run and the consumer trappings of a happy life - things many Australians take for granted, but most black Australians don't.

Hill is an advocate of social justice, an inescapably confronting problem if you happen to be born an Aboriginal in Australia.

The 41-year-old once said: "It's really not important what we've done, rather, what is important is what we haven't done."

A Koori (east-coast urban Aboriginal) artist who says he relates to the Yolngu of North East Arnhem Land, Hill has held 14 solo shows, many in his hometown Penrith, and lived in various Sydney art studios for the past decade.

Adam Geczy from Sydney's Harrison Gallery wrote of the artist: "Hill's work is all oriented around land and place, above and below, and especially the way in which Australia has been defiled, and the ancient mores of Aboriginal peoples transgressed."

Keep fighting the good fight Adam.

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