Distinguished Ngugi elder and Quandamooka Traditional Owner Uncle Bob Anderson (Dr. Robert Anderson OAM) is the focus of art exhibition Singing Up Spirit of the Land. Contemporary digital and painted portrait work capture not just likeness of the elder, but spiritual meaning behind sand minings end on Minjerribah, North Stradbroke Island in 2019, a result of native title determinations granted to the Quandamooka peoples in 2011. The integrity of these artworks are testament to an enduring relationship between Aboriginal elder Uncle Bob Anderson and artist Jo Fay Duncan who identifies as an ecological artist and second generation Scot, residing on Quandamooka Country.
At 92, Uncle Bob is a living legend. His legacy concerns not only Native Title determinations over Quandamooka Country but also Aboriginal rights in the work place. These artworks are a tribute to him, an honouring of the ancestors and hope for a better world for our descendants.
This exhibition encapsulate a body of work that articulates a remarkable window, to the complex and living culture of those of and living on Quandamooka country; both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal at the time of minings end on Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island). It bespeaks of reconciliation in action in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal relations and in our collective relationship to Country – be it the homelands of our ancestors or those of anothers.
2019 is the year mining is set to end on Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island), thanks to Native Title determinations of 2011.
This portrait came about after two years of audio recording with Uncle Bob Anderson. The swirling spirit of the land is seen here behind and below Spirit Man as he replaces the footprints of the ancestors on former mining lease. The process involved in the painting of this work, is one of reconciliation in action recognising this momentous occasion in Australia’s post-colonial history.
“Long before the sails of the first English ships cast their tall shadows on our shores in 1788 we were a thriving culture with our own customs, laws and beliefs” Uncle Bob Anderson.
Counter-mapping creates new and alternative knowledge about the world and denounces dominant representations (Bruno, Didier, & Vitale, 2014, Milan & van der Velden, 2016). It is a way through which ‘deep, spatial knowledge of a people, place and time is shared and communicated’ (Bryan & Wood, 2015, p. 179).
Bruno, I., Didier, E., & Vitale, T. (2014). Statactivism: Forms of action between disclosure and affirmation. Partecipazione e Conflitto: The Open Journal of Sociopolitical Studies. PACO, Issue, 7(2), 198–220.
Bryan, J., & Wood, D. (2015). Weaponizing maps: Indigenous peoples and counterinsurgency in the Americas. New York: The Guildford Press.