Exhibition honours true believer

Helen Musa City News 26 March 2013

One of the most important retrospectives being held during the Centenary of Canberra celebrations is the exhibition, “I Do Have a Belief – Kevin Gilbert (1933 to 1993)” opened at the Belconnen Arts Centre on March 28 2013.


Colonising Species,1987

“I Do Have a Belief” exhibition marks 80 years since Gilbert, the outspoken Wiradjuri artist, poet and political activist, was born, and 20 years since he died.
The first Aboriginal print-maker, Gilbert was also the first published Aboriginal playwright and political writer in Australia. This exhibition will include many previously unseen oil paintings, lino-prints, poetry manuscripts, political works and photographic murals.

Kevin Gilbert was born into the Wiradjuri nation in Condobolin, Central NSW. He was an active political human rights campaigner and was heavily involved in the establishment of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in 1972. Gilbert left a legacy of visual imagery that highlights the struggle for acceptance of Aboriginal sovereignty and an understanding of the spirituality of the oldest living culture in the world.

Gilbert’s seminal play “The Cherry Pickers” was nominated in 1970 for the Captain Cook Memorial Award and effectively began the Black Theatre movement in NSW.

In 1979 he was awarded a National Book Council Award for “Living Black: Blacks Talk to Kevin Gilbert” and a Human Rights Award for Literature for his 1988 anthology “Inside Black Australia.” In 1992 he was awarded a four-year Creative Arts Fellowship for his outstanding artistic contribution to the nation. In 1995 he was posthumously presented the RAKA award for his poem “Black from the Edge” and was highly commended in the ACT Book of the Year award. His autobiographical book for children, “Me and Mary Kangaroo”, was short listed for the 1995 Australian Multicultural Award.

“I Do Have a Belief – Kevin Gilbert,” at Belconnen Arts Centre, 118 Emu Bank, Belconnen, March 28 to April 14, 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday. Floor talk, 2pm, April 7, program talk by Euroka Gilbert, 2pm, April 14.

A special event was arranged by Gilbert’s family at 6pm on April 6 in Belconnen Arts Centre which featured performances by Roger and Buddy Knox, Bart Willoughby and Dale Huddlestone.

All events Free.