J’Accuse! (20,000 years of dreamtime—220 years of nightmare) 2008

Oil painting on canvas about Aboriginal deaths in custody
Oil on canvas
122.5 x 91.5 cm

An Aboriginal protester’s eyes engage the viewer in an unwaveringly accusatory manner. J’accuse quotes the title of Emile Zola’s letter to the French people (and the President of the French Republic M. Felix Faure) in condoning the outrageous anti-Semitic treatment of Alfred Dreyfus in 1898. “It represents a classic defence of human rights and a searing denunciation of fanaticism and prejudice”.*

The crucial issue of racial reconciliation between colonising settlers and immigrants and the first peoples of the Australian continent is, in my opinion, the continuing burning focus of Australian history. International outrage persists about continued social neglect and racial maltreatment of Australian Aboriginals. For me this complex social issue is best summed up by highlighting the disproportionately large number of Aboriginal deaths in custody. These deaths embody the symbolic ongoing struggle

*Washington Post book World review on The Dreyfus affair. Ed. Alain. 1998.