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Words / Alan Carpenter
Bib ID 7898501
Format BookBook [still image, text, sheet]
Carpenter, Alan, artist
Description Townsville, Qld, Australia : Respectfully printed in the studios of Red Rag Press, 2017 
1 broadside : colour ; 71 x 50 cm 

One of sixteen limited edition posters produced as part of a project in which North Queensland printmakers were invited to produce a letterpress poster using their own imagery and the type and letterpress printing equipment available at Red Rag Press. This poster consists solely of text printed in printed in grey, green, black and red ink. ‘Dispersal’ is paired with ‘Expulsion’, ‘Reserve’ with ‘Rural ghetto’, ‘Truth’ with ‘Black armband history’, ‘Country’ with ‘Terra nullius’ and so on. ‘Treaty’ is printed on its own across the bottom in a combination of grey and red in what appears to be 42-line wood type capitals. A short poetic text reads: “Words / veil our nation’s heart / hide our secret wars / conceal our wounded / So first truth / then reconciliation / then treaty / Only then can we be / one Country.” In a wall label for an exhibition of this print, Alan Carpenter notes: “Words started with a personal realisation that there is a horror underpinning apparently anodyne words from our histories. This work pairs the worst offenders with their uncomfortable truths in hard and uncompromising letterpress. Then came the dinner to celebrate the 2017, 25th anniversary of the Mabo decision. It was a restrained affair with good speeches, performances and so on. But then Jeff McMullen uttered the word ‘Treaty’ from the podium. A roar of approval erupted from the largely Indigenous audience. This will not go away. The time has come to abandon the euphemisms, speak the truth and reconcile our past through treaty.”


Red Rag Press was formally established by Sheree Kinlyside in 2006, and has generally produced fine press artists books along with some limited-edition poetry, broadsides and the occasional poster. In 2016, Sheree Kinlyside approached fourteen other Townsville artists to contribute to a poster project using the resources of her press. Arts Queensland provided a grant to help the project along with paper and to pay each artist for their production costs. Caren Florance, an artist, letterpress printer and arts lecturer from Canberra, also visited the studio for a week as artist in residence, and assisted many of the project participants to achieve their text–image collaborations. Sometimes the letterpress printed text (essentially relief printing with words instead of images) is original, sometimes the artist has used found text, written by a poet or prose writer. Sheree Kinlyside and Caren Florance also each produced a poster as part of the project, making a grand total of sixteen.


Title from accompanying documentation.

Hand set type.

Limited edition of 12 copies.

National Library of Australia's copy is no. 3/12.

Subjects Historiography -- Australia -- Posters.  |  Euphemism -- Posters.  |  Aboriginal Australians -- Treaties -- Posters.  |  Treaties -- Posters.  |  Letterpress printing -- Queensland -- Townsville -- Specimens.  |  Broadsides -- Queensland -- Townsville -- Specimens.  |  Australia -- History -- Posters.  |  Australian
Other authors/contributors Kinlyside, Sheree, printer  |  Florance, Caren, 1967- printer  |  Red Rag Press, issuing body  |  Arts Queensland, commissioning body
Terms of Use Copying allowed for research, study or personal use; permission required for publishing and other public use. 
Exhibited Commentary: Hand-printed Posters from North Queensland Artists, Umbrella Studio, Townsville, Queensland, 9 November 2018 - 16 December 2018. 


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    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags
    Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and other First Nations people are advised that this catalogue contains names, recordings and images of deceased people and other content that may be culturally sensitive. Please also be aware that you may see certain words or descriptions in this catalogue which reflect the author’s attitude or that of the period in which the item was created and may now be considered offensive.