Y.an Guwa (Going Home) 2016


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Product Description

This painting is about my grandmother, Mary Dowling (nee Latham). My grandmother was taken away from her Badimaya mother when she was almost 12 years old and her sister Dorothy was almost 9 years old. She worked long hours at the orphanage and my grandmother was placed into unpaid child labour in the laundry at St. Joseph’s Orphanage, Subiaco. My grandmother and her sister Dorothy were taken away from their Badimaya mother by their estranged white father and left with the Sisters of Mercy at St. Joseph’s orphanage took them in to train and work as domestic servants. My grandmother was a ticket collector on the trams that used to run through Perth during WW2.  Many young “quarter-caste” women were placed into assimilations houses with white matrons. My grandmother’s assimilation house was in Wembley. This is where she is seated in front of in this portrait. Each job was given in high traffic zones where service men during the war would be located so that they would be more likely to be proposed to by white men. During this time, first nations people were not allowed into Perth without a permit by an employer. There was a curfew in effect with the infamous “red line” of racial segregation right up until 1954. If they broke the curfew they were arrested and locked up.

Additional information

Dimensions 64 × 3 × 121 cm

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