Jenny Munro

Jenny Munro, the best among titans. She is a Wiradjuri Elder who established various health and community programs in the iconic inner city suburb of Redfern. She founded the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Redfern that brokered a phenomenal deal with the Government to provide affordable housing for Aboriginal people. She continues to lead the fight to this day, as gentrification threatens The Block. She represents Aboriginal rights at every small and large protest and community event in Sydney and nationally with profound wisdom and clarity on the importance of sovereignty for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Artwork by Adnate. Photo: The Other Sociologist.

Young Archie 2017

For the past three years, I’ve written about the gender and race dynamics of the chosen portraits, painted by children up to the age of 18 for the The Young Archibald Prize (the “Young Archie”). Most of the subjects are women, especially mothers. Few artists and subjects are people of colour. This year, while mothers, grandmothers and sisters feature, described for their caring qualities, I was delighted to see a handful of works by and about Asian Australians. Remarkably, two of these paintings, one by a nine year old and another by a 16 year old, explicitly depicted themes of death in terms of acceptance and wonder. Truly wonderful.

Mervyn Bishop

Mervyn Bishop, a Murray man, was the first Aboriginal person to work at a major metro daily newspaper, joining the Sydney Morning Herald in 1962. In 1971 he was named Australian Press Photographer of the Year. He would go on to cover major events, including the anti-war protests of the 1960s, the Bicentennial in 1988, and Aboriginal community life in remote regions of Australia. Continue reading Mervyn Bishop

For the Next Generation

Rejoice, for it is our visual sociology for February-March 2017! There’s revolutionary women, the tyranny of climate change, and the resilience of Aboriginal people.

Women challenge art

Revolutionary women artists featured at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 5 February.

“Untitled (for Mary Webb),” by A.D.S Donaldson

Australian artist Mary Webb was well known in European art circles but her contributions have been forgotten by Australian history. This piece reproduces Webb’s photographic creation using carpet. Continue reading For the Next Generation

Yabun Festival 2017

Djiringanj Dancers, a group of women cultural performers, singing about the “West Wind” at the Corroboree grounds, during the Yabun Festival.

The Yabun Festival is a celebration for Survival Day. The 26 of January is a national holiday that marks the day British ships arrived in Australia and began the genocide of Indigenous Australians. Survival Day is a day led by Indigenous Australians who affirm the resilience, creativity and excellence of First Australians. This year, the Invasion Day Protests, which aim to change the date and meaning of Australia Day, ended by protesters joining Yabun at the end of the march to enjoy music, stalls, cultural performances, speeches and more.

Continue reading Yabun Festival 2017

Lunar New Year 2017

Happy new year from Sydney! Here are the six lunar lanterns representing the symbols of: the rabbit; pig; horse; ox; tiger; and monkey! Continue reading Lunar New Year 2017

Vernon Ah Kee, “Not an Animal or a Plant”

Gallery 1:  This exhibition deals with the ongoing impact of colonialism on the way in which Australian culture perceives Aboriginal Australians. It has only been 50 years since the 1967 Referendum, which amended two racist articles from our Constitution. First, the changes allowed Parliament to make laws about Indigenous people, and second, the Census could now count Indigenous people. The title of this exhibit reflects that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were not seen as fully human people for much of our history and that this view prevails. Amongst the many powerful portraits seen here is “Tall Man.” Other works include the famous piece “Unwritten” and the graffiti drawn on toilet doors, “Born in this Skin.” Continue reading Vernon Ah Kee, “Not an Animal or a Plant”

Memory Lines

“A place to reflect upon our right to work and earn a fair wage.” Memory Lines is a memorial in Sydney, Australia, that has sociological interest, specifically to applied sociology. It commemorates workers who died at work, and provides a space to ruminate over the dignity and respect of all workers. It also pays respect to the traditional owners of this land, the Gadigal people. The statue was commissioned by Fair Work Australia, who look after the rights of workers.

Tall Man

“tall man” by Vernon Ah Kee (2010) a video installation depicting the Palm Island protests in 2004, following the autopsy results of Mulrunji Doomadgee (aka Cameron Dooadgee), confirming his death at the hands of police.

The title of this work refers to the role of Councillor Lex Wotton who acted like the tall man in Aboriginal stories; the boogey man or spirit “who elicits the truth from wrong doers.” The film depicts protests against police brutality and a call for the end to deaths in custody which almost uniquely affects Indigenous Australians. “We are oppressed people,” explains a woman after this footage.