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National Museum of Australia

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4

Sign Here - So Help Me God! by Ellen Jose

1994.0011.0002

On display

Sign Here - So Help Me God! by Ellen Jose

Object information

Physical description

An oil painting on linen mounted on a wooden stretcher, depicting two hands marking a paper document, one light brown coloured hand holding a green pen, and a darker brown hand making a black coloured finger print. The painting also features a bayonet, bow, and palm frond. The painting is signed 'Ellen Jose / 1992' at the bottom right corner.

Statement of significance

This collection comprises two paintings by Ellen Jose entitled. "Did they beat the drum slowly, as they lowered you down?" and "Sign here - So help me God". Both artworks acknowledges the artist's father and other Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders who contributed in the defence force of Australia.

Ellen Jose was born in Cairns, and she works in Melbourne, she is a painter, printmaker and photographer, and is very active in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. These two paintings provide an insight into the impact of war on Black diggers and their families, and the changes of government policies concerning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen and women. They fought in the military defending Australia, but when they returned, they were soon forgotten. It has only been recently that the black diggers were acknowledged and recognised for their services. Sadly, many of them have died without any recognisition when they were alive.

Physical description

On display at the National Museum of Australia.

Object information

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