- Place where the work was made
New South Wales
- Cultural origin
- Gurindji/Malgnin/Mudpurra, Fitzmaurice region
- Media category
- Materials used
- etching on archival paper
- 1 of 25
- 35.5 x 29.5 cm image; 50.5 x 39.5 cm sheet
- Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r., pencil "Brenda L Croft '15".
- Mollie Gowing Acquisition fund for Contemporary Aboriginal art 2016
- Not on display
- Accession number
- © Brenda L Croft/Copyright Agency
- Artist information
Brenda L Croft
Works in the collection
Jinparrak is the Gurindji name for Wave Hill Station, from where the Gurindji and associated peoples walked off on 23 August 1966. 200+ Aboriginal stockmen and their families, led by Gurindji/Malngin elder Vincent Lingiari, included members of the Malngin, Mudpurra, Ngarinman, Bilinara and Warlpiri peoples and was the start of the national land rights movement. This act of self-determination reverberated around
Australia and overseas and has seeped into the national pysche and popular culture through songs such as ’The Gurindji Blues’ by Ted Egan and ‘From little things, big things grow’, by Kev Carmody and Paul Kelly.
Over six months in 1966/67 these determined traditional custodians walked 22 kms from Jinparrak, where they had worked under conditions that saw them ’treated like dogs’, camping during the wet season behind the Police Station near Victoria River/Police Hole, before selecting Daguragu as their home. There they remained on strike, supported by people from across Australia and overseas, in their dedicated
fight for the return of their land. It took nearly 9 years until 16 August 1975 when then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam symbolically poured soil into the hand of Gurindji elder Vincent Lingiari, as 500 square miles were officially handed over by the British company Vesteys. The handback took another 11 years before becoming law in 1986, but the Gurindji were renowned for being the first people to have their traditional lands returned to them.
The etchings symbolically represent the oppression and dispossession of a people under the onslaught of pastoralists since the 1880s, reflecting peoples forced to work like slaves on and in their own lands, all for the profits of a distant British Lord. There is a distorted beauty in the rusted old horseshoes, strands of fencing wire with their 'Cobb & Co’ twists, and the solitary drinking mug constructed from a discarded food tin and twisted wire, hand-rendered by an unknown stockman - all collected by the
artist on her pilgrimage over the region including The Wave Hill Walkoff Track. The Wave Hill Walkoff Track was officially placed on the National Heritage Register in 2007, in the same year as the implementation of the federal government's NT Emergency Response, or NT Intervention, with legislation effectively nullifying Whitlam’s 1975 proclamation as Prime Minister on the return of the traditional homelands to the Gurindji and their descendants as being ‘in perpetuity’.
The series will be part of an multi-disciplinary, multi-media exhibition of new work by Brenda L Croft, created as part of experimental practice-led research, conducted for her PhD and thesis, in the collaborative exhibition, ‘Still in my mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality’, with Karungkarni Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation. Scheduled to open at UNSW Galleries, UNSW Art & Design Australia in early 2017 during the 50th anniversary of the Gurindji Walkoff from Wave Hill, ‘Still in my mind’ will commence a national tour to university art museums, galleries and cultural centres in the second half of 2017. Brenda Croft 2015
Where the work was made
Other works by Brenda L Croft
Sue Ingram, Botany Road/Regent Street, Redfern Brenda L Croft 1992 166.2000.1 On display – 20th-century galleries (lower level 1)
Bonny Briggs and Matthew Cook, Aboriginal Community Health Services, Pitt Street, Redfern Brenda L Croft 1992 166.2000.3
See all 34 works