Southern Cross

100% cotton paper, gold leaf, cotton thread, copper wire.  
Dimensions: Chart 120W x 120H(cm), Skull 18W x 18D x 18H(cm)

Southern Cross is a memorial to the Aboriginal people who lost their lives in the little known Australian Frontier Wars: the disparate drawn-out clash between white settlers and indigenous Aboriginals. For approximately 60,000 years prior to colonisation Aboriginals were the only people of this land, and today are the oldest living culture on Earth. Over a thousand generations they have cultivated a deep relationship with the land and each other: charting a course valuing legacy over immediacy. 

As we grapple with reconciling Australia’s past and future, the zeitgeist that guided the Frontier Wars is yet to be navigated and formally recognized. This skull was created in sorrow and solidarity, as a symbol of the estimated 20,000 Aboriginal lives lost who traversed the tides of colonization with devastating and tragic consequences. 

This artwork was exhibited at The Lost Ones Gallery on the traditional country of the Wadawurrung people, and was completed with cultural consultation from Wadawurrung Tribe Elder Bryon Powell. The skull featured was first exhibited in Melbourne in an installation called Navigating The Tides, created in consultation with the Wurundjeri Tribe. As an object of reconciliation, the skulls contribute to Australian artist Fred Fowler’s vision to create 20,000 skulls to create a tangible memorial to Aboriginal lives lost in the Frontier Wars.

Exhibition details
The Thin Veil
Group exhibition curated by The Lost Ones Gallery with artists Kim Anderson, Bethany Atkinson-Quinton, Isabelle de Kleine, Trent Parke, Natalie Ryan, Saskia Scott, Jessie Stanley, Mirra Whale ‪

November 8 – January 3, 2017‬
The Lost Ones Gallery
Ballarat 

Images

Southern Cross (in process and detail images)
Jessie Stanley, 2017.

Detail: a compass features on the crown of skull

Detail: a compass features on the crown of skull


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Process: applying the gold leaf to the chart

Process: applying the gold leaf to the chart

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Process: stencils used for hand-embossing the text that features in the chart. Each of the words and phrases scar the surface of the chart with the zeitgeist of the Frontier War days, and were developed in consultation with Wurundjeri and Wadawurrung Elders

Process: stencils used for hand-embossing the text that features in the chart. Each of the words and phrases scar the surface of the chart with the zeitgeist of the Frontier War days, and were developed in consultation with Wurundjeri and Wadawurrung Elders