Nyinawanga needed a passport. And for this Australian born artist, that was a problem. We got the passport photos done, and filled out and witnessed all the forms, but there being no records of birth was the killer. The guy at Immigration was pretty firm about it. “What about mission records?” he asked. There was no mission, the reply. “What about the stud book?” He isn’t in there, the response, along with “Just look at the photo, he’s obviously Australian!”
Landscape is perhaps the most value laden of genres within which to peel back the layers of influence in post-contact Australian history. Landscape in Australian art history and in particular “pastoraphilia” as the leitmotif of Australian nationhood and identity, mitigated the harsh historical realities and made palpable the strange and un-picturesque landscape for European eyes. Landscape is infused with the legacy of (and in this part of the world the ongoing) dispossession of land and wholesale destruction of people and culture.