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Aboriginal people are living in Homelands in the desert. Someone returns from town where they have caught AIDS. Perhaps he or she was not careful, because of drinking. The light brown colour of some horseshoe symbols represents the infection. The person then sleeps with a partner in the shelter (wilytja) nearby, and passes on the infection. When one of them travels on to another community, the sickness is passed on to someone else in the same way. So it spreads through the lands and destroyes Aboriginal culture. [ATSIC card catalogue]
A dot painting on canvas featuring seven brown concentric circles with half circles surrounding them. There is also four groups of two brown lines with a half circle over them. The background is green with brown, white and yellow dots. On the back is handwritten text that reads 'C-1782', there are three stickers, one is an ATSIC sticker some of which reads 'Asset No: C- 1782', one is Archival Reference sticker and the other one is a white sticker with handwritten text that reads 'BERTHA SPENCER / NAKAMARRA / Yuendumu via Alice Springs'. The canvas is stapled to a wooden strainer which has a foam board backing board.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Art collection comprises 2050 artworks and other objects. The artworks - which numerically dominate the collection - were produced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities throughout Australia. The accumulation of these artworks into a single collection has resulted from the choices and selections made during a 38 year period by a variety of staff working for the Council for Aboriginal Affairs (CAA), the Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DAA), the Aboriginal Development Commission (ADC) and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) at the national, regional and local levels.
The collection spans the years following the 1967 referendum, when dramatic changes in the governance of Aboriginal people took place, up to 2005 when the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission was dissolved. It provides a snapshot of the diversity and changes in Indigenous art and its representation which occurred during the period of its formation. The small number of 'non-art' objects in the collection is also significant in providing insights into the working of the various Commonwealth bodies involved in Indigenous affairs. As well as the significance of many of the individual pieces, the collection is also significant as a whole, as a complex artefact stemming from Australia's history of governance of Australian Indigenous peoples.
W 608mm x H 760mm x D 24mm
ATSIC branch office