Australi An Open Mind Essay

Australi An Open Mind Essay

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When requested to visit the State Library of Victoria to inspect the work of S.T Gill, I can say I was not entirely pleased. In spite of my judgments, I attended the exhibit with an open mind. I expected to see artwork embodying prosperous colonial life that illustrated the life of the ‘white man’ drinking away and appearing to be living a glamorous life. I expected limited depictions of Aboriginals and I can excitedly say I was proved wrong immediately. Upon entering the exhibit, I turned left to the nearest display of artwork and the first image I caught a glimpse of was that of an aboriginal stapled to the ground by a spear. I could only assume the spear to symbolize oppression of the Aboriginals which would practically lead to their near demise.
Prior to my arrival in Australia, I knew very little about Australian History. My knowledge of its history was limited to understanding that England had colonized the land. I knew from previous awareness that the Aboriginals of the land were dehumanized. At home, I can recall studying English colonization of America and how brutally they went about their conquest over Native Americans. During my experience in the exhibit, I became engrossed in Gill’s artwork containing Aboriginals. I pondered over Australia’s modern relationship with Aboriginals in relation to America’s modern relationship with Native Americans. Lastly, I valued his ability and unique way of depicting everyday life. Throughout this course, so far, I have learned considerably more about how the English colonized Australia and S.T Gill’s art has opened my mind to further understand the history.
Gill arrived in South Australia in late 1839. Momentarily after his arrival, he established a studio in Adelaide and also en...


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... very interested in art, however the material S.T. Gill presented sways me to contemplate otherwise. His appreciation and sympathy towards Aboriginals has allowed him to portray early colonial life through his sketches. By providing illustrations on the Aboriginals, colonists, and the diggers, he takes an unbiased stance and presents the reality of what early colonial life was like. Gill’s open-mindedness and failure to uphold an unwarranted hatred towards Aboriginals like most white Australians in early colonial days solidified my appreciation of his artwork. His art has impacted me in a way I had not expected. He exposed the reality of racism and social injustices towards Aboriginals and he also demonstrated that good and bad days are a part of life, yet during the bad days there is always some form of grace with oneself. In the digger’s case, the grace is his dog.

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