PhD candidate, leading artist and international curator Brenda L Croft’s father Joe was a Gurindji man and one of the Stolen Generations. Now, many years after his death, Croft is piecing together the fragments of his life in a complex multimedia work Solid/Shifting Ground.
For the past three years Croft has been trekking sections of the now heritage listed Wave Hill Walk-Off Route in Gurindji mapping what she calls her “memory-scape” with audio-visual media and photography captured with a camera strapped onto her chest, near her “heart and heartbeat”.
“Walking the Wave-Hill Track is a performative act that has helped connect me to my father’s birthplace and the strength of our people,” says Croft. “When you walk you think differently … it changes the way you breathe.”
The partially overgrown, 22km track is significant to Croft’s people who walked the same path from Wave Hill Station in 1967 as part of an strike and resistance against the poor conditions and brutality they had experienced as pastoral workers for more than 40 years. It was an historic strike and human rights campaign that eventually led to the 1976 Northern Territory Aboriginal Land Rights Act, a nation-changing moment immortalised in the now iconic photo of Gough Whitlam pouring sand through the hands of Vincent Lingiari.
This year Croft, a Research Fellow with UNSW Art & Design’s National Institute for Experimental Arts, was awarded the highly prestigious Australia Council National Indigenous Arts Award Fellowship to develop Solid/Shifting Ground, a combination of performance, creative narrative, moving and still imagery, and sound.
Continue reading at UNSW Newsroom.