I’m at the “Love Is… Australian Wedding Fashion” exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum.
This was a very interesting exhibition but it’s not really about “Australia.” It’s about White Australia. It starts with a room about “early history” – which begins with “convicts.” Already Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are erased, but to add injury, the room uses an unnamed Indigenous song that plays in the background to a room full of White colonisers. There is only one Aboriginal designer in the entire exhibition – Dharruk and Darkenjung woman Robyn Caughlan (in this video) – but no couples.
The video here depicts the only other people of colour (one Australian-Indian couple; one Korean-Australian design house; one Chinese-Australian), and minorities (one Greek-Australian couple: one Jewish couple; and one gay couple). All are the end of the exhibit, from the 1990s to 2016.
Indigenous people have lived on this land for over 60,000 years and non-Anglo-Celtic settlers since the 1800s, not counting the Malay who had strong relationships with Aboriginal people prior to invasion. Museums, like other cultural institutions, continue to reproduce inequality by omitting Indigenous people, who are eternal custodians of Country and have contributed to history, continuing to shape this nation, along with other people of colour. We also deserve to have our love and wedding rituals commemorated.
This is the wedding dress of author, feminist and PhD candidate Tara Moss, who married Berndt Sellheim in 2009, Margaret River, Western Australia.