Dale Harding investigates social and political realities





Dale Harding, Bidjara, Ghungalu and Garingbal peoples, Australia b.1982 / their little black slaves, perished in isolation (installation views) 2015 / Charred wood, antique furniture, wood stain, scent diffuser / Courtesy: The artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane / © The artist

Dale Harding has gained recognition for works that investigate the social and political realities experienced by members of his family, who lived under government control in Queensland around 1930.

As a young Murri, my Ghungalu grandfather Uncle Tim Kemp recalled the death of one young gambi he knew at Woorabinda Aboriginal Settlement. Under the control of the Queensland government of the time and the Department of Native Affairs, she was contracted to work as an indentured domestic at Clermont… As was the longstanding practice, this young woman was locked in her room at night by her ‘employers’ – to deny her any chance of escape and, from some accounts, as an attempt to reduce the chances of sexual assault. This young gambi lost her life after knocking over a kerosene lamp in her locked room. The timber Queenslander caught fire and, as Uncle Tim described, the girl died isolated and alone, away from her home.

their little black slaves, perished in isolation was exhibited in ‘GOMA Q: Contemporary Queensland Art’ at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in 2015.

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Feature image detail: Dale Harding their little black slaves, perished in isolation (installation view) 2015

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