HUNTING GROUND incorporating Barbeque Area morphs contemporary Tasmanian public Barbeque Areas with references to colonial Van Diemen’s Land - in particular the willful dispossession of Aboriginal people from their country, language, customs, each other. The exhibition consists of video, photographs, painting on vellum, and works in wood, fabric and stainless steel.
The tenacious colonial land grab in the first decades of the 1800s reduced Van Diemen’s Land to pastoral places with perimeters; agricultural success apparently required the eradication of the original inhabitants. Meanwhile, today, dotted across the island are small pseudo cottage bbq areas. These architecturally reflect in scale and sometimes location the original sod or slab huts populated by shepherds and stockmen who kept the roving savages, my ancestors, at bay and extended the expanse of the ‘settled districts’.
For the love of country Aboriginal Tasmanians fought to the death at places such as these. BBQ areas retain an uncanny independence from other built environments. They offer free fuel at the push of a button, welcoming everyone to cook anything on a stainless steel plate whose central drainage hole seems simultaneously medical and military. These sites might appear innocuous, democratic, nurturing. For me, however, they express loss of original people from country. Rarely occupied, they appear a cruel recreational, amnesiac joke. For what reason did wholesale slaughter occur across my island ? for this – designated BBQ areas ?
Julie Gough , October 2014
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This project has been assisted by Regional Arts Tasmania; the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; The Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, Tasmania.
Julie would like to acknowledge the assistance of Silverglo Stainless Steel Pty Ltd, Northcote. Special thanks to Jemma Rea, Dean Chatwin, Luke Wagner and Wager Framemakers.
Hunting Party 2014 detail
Tasmanian Oak, leather, steel, flint, digital transfer on canvas,