Taranaki test site-and cleanup-area
(image source: Google Earth)
Black Mist Burnt Country was officially launched on Tuesday night in the presence of 250 visitors at SH Ervin Gallery on Observatory Hill at Sydney’s The Rocks. Artist Ben Quilty said Australia’s decision to allow the British testing on traditional Indigenous lands was one of the darkest part of Australia history that Australians still have to acknowledge fully. The exhibition is a great step to telling that story he said. He deplored the contamination of the country by plutonium by the British, calling it a “crime”.
After Gadigal elder Uncle Ray Davison in his welcome to Country (the Eora Nation) had stressed the importance of the connection to country for Aboriginal people, and ‘Mother Earth’ for all people, Quilty’s remarks were particularly poignant.
While members of the affected communities in Yalata and Oak Valley of South Australia, the Anangu Pitjantjatjara, unfortunately could not attend the event because of important sorry-business, Yalata Chairman Russell Bryant send a message, which was read out by Burrinja Executive Director, Ross Farnell: “We were wanting to come to Sydney to tell our stories of the bombs and the damage it did to our land but we cannot come now. Keep us in your prayers and the funeral is Tuesday on the same day we were all coming to meet with you …to share our story.”