Artist: Tony Albert
Location: Hyde Park, Sydney
This is a commission for a war memorial, commemorating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Men and women who served within Australia's military. As such it represents the broader conversations about Indigenous representation within Australia's public sphere. The artist, Tony Albert, is a young Sydney-based Aboriginal Girramay artist, whose work is often confrontational and engaged with Indigenous politics, has made a work which has created public division in its stark representation of armed conflict. The work consists of seven larger than life bullets, four standing and three fallen. Beyond the immediate reading of 'sacrifice' which is common within the iconography of war memorials, the work further engages the politics of race and land. The artist remarks: " The artwork ... references the circumstances faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service men and women when they returned to Australia. They were treated differently from their white Australian comrades who were given land for their service while Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were still having their land taken away." The work is a brave representation of the issues at hand, and also interesting in the ways in which these politics are being actively represented and engaged with by public institutions. It is this reframing of the public dialogue about war, race and land rights, which makes this particular work worthy of nomination.
All copyright belongs to Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University.