Mia Boe’s commission is in response to the Black Lives Matter protests within Australia. The paintings The Struggle to Maintain Human Dignity and Call to Arms speak to a lineage of state sanctioned violence against the Indigenous peoples of this land.
Until recently, police brutality and the subsequent deaths of Indigenous prisoners has largely been omitted from national media and politics. Boe notes, “Australia should feel shameful that it took the death of an American man, George Floyd, for real attention to be paid to the deaths of Indigenous people here. The deaths of Indigenous Australians at the hands of police have been ongoing since the first days of invasion”.
Inspired by the rich tradition of anti-racist and revolutionary political posters from Emory Douglas, former Minister for Culture in the Black Panther Party, USA; Boe also acknowledges the iconic Warumpi Band and celebrated Brisbane artist, Gordon Bennett.
These works are on display at IMA Belltower at the Judith Wright Arts Centre until 19 December, 2020.
Mia Boe, The Struggle to Maintain Human Dignity, 2020, acrylic on linen, 91.5 x 122cm.
Mia Boe, Call to Arms, 2020, acrylic on linen, 91.5 x 122cm.
Mia Boe is a painter from Meanjin (Brisbane). Her mother is of the Badtjala people from K’gari (Fraser Island) and her father is Burmese. Her work looks at the brutal and violent history of colonisation in Australia through a contemporary perspective.
Boe records and rediscovers Indigenous histories denied, occluded, or pacified in popular Australian narratives. This practice of recovery and re-narration is urgent in contemporary Australia as it can open new perspectives on the reasons for Aboriginal Australians' present suffering