Sally Morgan

Sally Morgan is an aboriginal writer and painter whose family was severly
affected by “the stolen generation” atrocities committed by white governments
since the first settlement until the second half of the twentieth century. Her most
famous work is the biography of her family’s struggle with the dominant white
patriarchy. It has been set for the HSC and is titled My Place, the title of the book
is echoed in the visual text My Grandmother’s Country. The use of the possessive
“my” in both titles , together with “place” and “country” clearly indicates
Morgan’s attitudes to social justice issues such as land rights and individual
freedom for aboriginals. Her tone is angry and frustrated as well as deeply
saddened as a result of her family’s experiences.

The painting My Grandmother’s Country is a distinctively visual text which
represents the power of the white colonial patriarchy in colonizing and altering
the landscape of Northern Australia. It also constructs a highly negative image of
pastoralists who not only dominated the land but also its people through
extreme racial discrimination. Morgan’s purpose is to promote understanding of
the social and historical destruction of Aboriginals’ way of life and hopefully to
promote change in values and attitudes.

The painting shapes meaning and influences our responses by combining
traditional aboriginal painting techniques to represent the indigenous story and
a basic childish primitivism to construct the colonial people and property. This
structure juxtaposes images through stylistic devices and highlights the
difference between the aboriginal’s, centuries old occupation of the land with the
invasion of the Europeans. A large black crow hovering over the land ad central
vector here which symbolises the death of the aboriginal people and the
destruction of their land. Together with this, there is visual hyperbole in the size
of the white man who stands aggressively on...