IJA by Margaret Whitehurst

A Referendum for Social Change: 1967 to 2017

Yamaji Art, in partnership with Geraldton Streetwork Aboriginal Corporation and the Arts and Cultural Development Centre, recently had a successful exhibition opening called ‘Referendum for Social Change 1967 – 2017’. The exhibition explores artists response to the 1967 referendum on the 50th anniversary.  The 1967 referendum made history as Australians voted an overwhelming YES to amend the constitution to include Aboriginal people in the census and allow the Commonwealth to create laws for them.

The evening included a guest speaker, Amangu Elder,Wayne Warner who preformed Welcome to Country and also so provided a in-depth discussion about the 1967 referendum including his own personal experience during the time. Wayne also provided a multi media and photographic presentation based on his connection to country titled Greenough.

The exhibition also includes other varieties of artwork ranging from installations, youth artworks, paintings and a yarning circle for the public to talk about their experiences of 1967.

Works on display are done by Artists Barbara Merritt, Margret Whitehurst, Charmaine Green, Sonya Edney, Sherryl Green, Andrea Green-Ugle and Jesse Pickett. These works are interpretations of the vote results for Geraldton who recorded the highest No vote.

The exhibition also included a Wall Of Resilience By Youth Artists who work with local youth organisation, Geraldton Street Work Aboriginal Corporation. By including Youth art in the exhibition it showed  cultural resilience in the fact that our younger generations continue to express our stories through visual arts.

In Addition to the Multi-media Presentations and Artworks, the exhibition had three installations by Roni Jones and Charmaine Green Titled Olden day Rations, Modern Day Scraps and Remembering.

Olden day rations depicts the impacts of legislation that stopped our people from hunting and gathering. Resulting in a reliance on govt hand outs. With Modern Day Scraps representing the proposed introduction of a “healthy welfare card” that quarantines payments to the point it will only allow the purchase of “modern day scraps”. So whats changed?

Charmaine Green’s installation Remembering is a tribute piece and displays tools, traditional food seeds and implements used by our  Ancestors and those before us. 

The exhibition will be on display until the 26th of June 2017 at 189 Marine Terrace,Geraldton.