Jacky Green: “Nothing has really changed since whitefellas came into our country. First time it was horses and now it’s bulldozers.”
Garrwa artist Jacky Green’s paintings are some of the most urgent works addressing mining in Australia today. Often billed as an ‘outsider’ artist, his sense of colour and movement is anything but amateur and his direct politics both convey a sharp message about the state of his land and work as a refusal to bend to widely held perceptions of what Aboriginal art should be.
Jacky Green’s Flow of Voices project was held at The Cross Art Projects in 2014, with co-production from Waralungku Arts. Green, a Garrwa man from the remote southwest Gulf Country in the Northern Territory, conceived of the project as a two-part exhibition looking at the impact of mining and post-colonial relations. On display from April to May, Flow of Voices I, contained a series of Green’s paintings charting the expansion of GlencoreXtrata’s controversial McArthur River open cut mine, depicting the transformation of the life of the community from ‘good to bad’. The second instalment of the project, Flow of Voices II, held from May to June, featured paintings by Jacky Green and fellow Garrwa artists Stewart Hoosan and Nancy McDinny. These paintings each depict scenes of Indigenous resistance against the brutal massacres perpetrated by armed prospectors and pastoralists of the frontier days, a story which remains obscured by the whitewashed frontier mythology. The exhibitions also featured a talk by Anthropologist Sean Kerins and Borroloola community interviews by artist Jessie Boylan.
“There’s a lot of mining going on in our country. The mining companies are coming into our country and they aren’t talking with us properly. They seem to just want us to agree to things their way.”