Northern Territory artists combining art and tea towels

SIGNED! 'YOU ARE HERE' catalogue by Therese Ritchie


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This limited edition lavish 43cm x 30cm hard-cover, full-colour, 52-page publication documents the exhibition 'YOU ARE HERE'—an artivism initiative that contributes to national conversations about truth-telling and re-writes white histories around the settlement of Australia and the burgeoning coal and fossil fuel industry that ensued.

Through her exhibition catalogue, Darwin-based artist Therese Ritchie factually examines Australia’s frontier wars, the massacre of Indigenous peoples and forcible land appropriation, through visual images and large-scale timelines and text. Alongside this pernicious history of massacre, Ritchie presents the nation’s simultaneous history of coal extraction and infrastructure development by European settlers, mining companies and successive Australian governments—making apparent the connection between these two trajectories.

'YOU ARE HERE' was presented at CDU Art Gallery in 2021 and curated by Dr Joanna Barrkman. It unflinchingly examined how we got to where we are now. In the words of the artist, it urges us to consider the compelling question: ‘What do we do now?’

This publication, designed by Ritchie, is comprised of four large-scale timelines and 18 digital inkjet framed prints. The upper half of each timeline documents the growth of coal mining, while the lower halves document the parallel reality of massacres enacted upon First Nation Australians. The 18 prints were created by the artist during her research process as she constructed the timelines. They recount her emotional responses to the histories recorded in the timelines and operate as visual signifiers that invite the viewer to interpret personal responses to the factual data the timelines record.

'YOU ARE HERE' interprets Australia’s national history since 1770 and incorporates evocative imagery, much of which is appropriated from familiar historical paintings of Australian landscapes and events documenting European colonisation of Australia. These images are overlaid with text and timelines that record a litany of misdemeanours, atrocities, discoveries, manoeuvres, and ploys leading to a culminating moment in Australia’s history. 'YOU ARE HERE' prompts dialogue, debate and reflection about truth-telling, care for Country, the implications of mining, and issues of First Nation’s sovereignty.

This publication has been proudly sponsored by the Northern Territory Government and supported by Charles Darwin University Art Gallery.

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