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Learning how to be stupid [picture] / by Julie Dowling
Bib ID 3117937
Format PicturePicture, OnlineOnline
Author
Dowling, Julie, (Julie Ann) 1969-
 
Online Versions
Description 2004 
1 painting : acrylic, red ochre and plastic on canvas ; 119.7 x 100.4 x 3.9 cm. 
Summary

"This picture is from a small photograph taken on Christmas day at my grandfather and grandmother's house when I was five years old. In the foreground, is my grandfather, Robert 'Nanpop' Dowling from the back view. From left to right is my Aunt Liz, Uncle John when they were teenagers. My twin sister, Carol, is sitting without a t-shirt on. I am sitting next to her next to my first cousin, Bruce. We are all sitting eating our Christmas lunch prepared by 'Nana' who is about to walk into the kitchen background. This picture is about the celebration of Christmas, which seemed to be fractured to me as a child. Christmas then was always fleeting and momentary, expressing the hypocrisy of such a Christian ceremony."--Artist statement.

Artist statement continues: "I always felt that this was the time we were 'supposed' to be happy and we always knew that these times were rare. My Uncle Robert was mentally ill and would often be violent. This is a powerful image of Christmas because it was the last time we shared it together before my grandfather died a few months later. This image shows my Uncle John about to be told off by my grandmother for allowing my Auntie Liz to put a Christmas streamer 'popper' into his mouth. He was trying to make us children laugh for the camera. It is as if we are learning from them that it was alright to be stupid or joke around while our Uncle Robert was not around. It is as if this Western tradition seemed odd in context to the way we lived our lives for the rest of the year. This is reflected in the Christmas star with its jagged plastic glitter with tiny tear drops coming from its points."

Notes

Title from inscription on reverse.

"May 2004"--Inscription on reverse.

Condition: Good. Dots and plastic glitter form raised surface as created by artist.

Also available online http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-136877746

Subjects Dowling, Julie, (Julie Ann) 1969- -- Family -- Pictorial works.  |  Dowling, Julie, (Julie Ann) 1969- -- Childhood and youth -- Pictorial works.  |  Christmas -- Australia -- Pictorial works.  |  Families, Aboriginal Australian -- Pictorial works.  |  Aboriginal Australians -- Ethnic identity -- Pictorial works.  |  Aboriginal Australians -- Social life and customs -- Pictorial works.
Terms of Use Copyright restrictions may apply. 
Exhibited Exhibited: Julie Dowling : Warridah sovereignty, Artplace, Perth, W.A., 3 July to 25 July 2004. 

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