Julie Dowling
Abo, Nigger, Coon 1997
Detail of triptych
Acrylic, red ochre, blood
and gold on canvas

Minnette Vári
Still from Alien


Something you want to say about ArtThrob? E-mail artthrob@mweb.co.za

From: Josiah Taundi

Subject: Nigger

The piece Nigger ('Isintu', April 99 ArtThrob) was horrifying. I respect free expression but I did not quite get the connection between an African and the haunting ape look.

- ArtThrob forwarded this e-mail to 'Isintu' curator Zayd Minty for comment, and received the following reply:

From: Zayd Minty

Subject: Re: Nigger

The piece in question, by Julie Dowling (an Indigenous Australian artist), is a portrait of an Indigenous Australian person or Aborigine. Julie generally uses people from her family and tribe in her artwork, often using old photographs - she was removed from her family home at an early age as part of an Australian government strategy in the 1960s to "integrate" indigenous Australians into white Australia. She is of mixed blood and her accurate renditions of the more "pure bred" Aboriginal people in her family past are rendered in oils, oches and her own blood. Using oils she conjures up images of old masters but with a sharp twist.

Nigger depicts an indigenous Australian as a colonialist from the 1800s and is part of a triptych which deals with how white people would have liked Aborigines to dress and behave and plays with the myth of the "noble savage". Each of the other pieces in the triptych has an Indigenous Australian dressed like an Australian colonial mythological figure. One of them, for example, is the Outbacker and he is indicated as "coon" - utilising the font of a favourite beer in Australia Coors.

- Viewer Taundi's response to this was:

From: Josiah Taundi

Subject: Re: FW: Nigger

I got Zayd's position. Maybe the whole thing was about a big title with a not so big meaning.

Meanwhile I have been looking around for an artist (doubtlessly European) called Michael Cadman of the "Cornish Memory" fame. Can you try to locate this favourite of mine?

- Can anyone help with this query?

From: Deanna Herst, Axis

Subject: Contact Minnette Vári?

I read in ArtThrob no 15 about Minnette Vári's video Alien and am very interested in it. I have no idea though, how to contact her or how to get hold of this piece. Do you maybe have a contact number of her or her gallery? Thanks very much in advance.

Deanna Herst
programming Axis

Axis, foundation for art and gender
Oudezijds Voorburgwal 72
1012 GE Amsterdam
T 31 (0)20 4274525
F 31 (0)20 4271412
E axis@axisvm.nl

- Minnette Vári's e-mail address is comflair@iafrica.com. Viewers can check out a preview of a new release of a multi-media CD-Rom from Axis entitled Gender Media Art by visiting this month's websites.

From: Michael Willemse, Le Bon Ton ...& Art

Subject: Reciprocal URL

We have given your site some prominence on our web domain. Any reason why we have no news on yours?


Le Bon Ton ...& Art
The Domain of Africa's 1st Art Supermarket
209 Bree Street, Cape Town, South Africa
Tel: 423-3631 Fax 426-5431
Visit us on www.artsupermart.com

- While ArtThrob welcomes submissions of material for current gallery shows, far more is received than can be used. We do not aim to provide complete listings, but rather to highlight for those interested in contemporary art the strongest of the current shows.

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