For Country, for Nation

Mon 20th August, 2018 – Sun 9th December, 2018
10:00am – 5:00pm
Melbourne Museum
11 Nicholson Street, Carlton
Price: $0 - $15
A fascinating exhibition at Melbourne Museum pays tribute to a shamefully overlooked aspect of Australian history: First Nations peoples military service. Developed by the Australian War Memorial, this is the first time the unique exhibition has shown in Victoria.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have served in every conflict Australia has engaged in from as far back as 1860. First Peoples soldiers participated in major conflicts such as the Boer War, World War One and World War Two, up to and including Afghanistan. As Tony Albert’s comic book-inspired piece Coloured Diggers puts it, these soldiers were “Unable to vote – but eligible to die!”

Developed with the close cooperation of community elders and knowledge holders, For Country, for Nation makes engaging use of first-person stories told through audio, photography, objects and artwork. There’s also an opportunity to watch the Sarpeye, an imposing war dance performed by Far North Queensland servicemen and rarely ever caught on camera.

The exhibition will feature work from First Peoples artists including bold Brisbane painter Gordon Bennett; Walmatjarri artist Jimmy Pike, social realist painter Julie Dowling, well-known watercolour artist Albert Namajira; and new commissions from Townsville-born, Sydney-based Tony Albert—a mixed-media artist who engages his community in his practice, and was recently the youngest artist to have a solo show at Brisbane’s GoMA.

For Country, For Nation is open daily 10am-5pm at Melbourne Museum until December 9.

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