Through his art practice and research, David Jones has pursued a critique of institutionalised and everyday racism in Australia.
In his newest exhibition, Australian Anosognosia, at the Woolloongabba Art Gallery, Jones confronts these issues, interrogating societal denial of the violent nature of Australia’s national foundation.
Jones’ Dalungbarra heritage traces through his father, grandmother and great grandmother; family members who watched colonial advancement and fought vigorously to reclaim Dalungbarra land.
His art became his vehicle for engaging with institutional racism, informed by his Butchulla, Dalungbarra and Dalungdalee heritage. Staying true to his background, this exhibition’s structure draws from Aboriginal narrative methodology while integrating demanding traditional European graphic techniques for printmaking, such as etching and aquatint.
Australian Anosognosia primarily delves into a problem written about by Kevin Gilbert in Because A White Man’ll Never Do It in 1994: the ‘sickness’ of ‘settler’ Australian society.
It seeks to make this a point of discussion as continued denial and erasure impedes Australia’s progress, resulting in a limited or compromised national identity. This problem is interrogated in varying degrees across the work, illuminating the revisionary practices that have fuelled the cycle of denial across the years. As Jones relates to both the coloniser and the colonised, the exhibition contributes to a dialogue about racism in Australia’s modern society and poses questions as to the legitimacy of its continuance. The exhibit emphasises that it is only through reflection on past actions and understanding social and cultural norms that a new path can be defined, taking the steps to make amends.