Print making

In 1989, I carved Colonising Species, symbolising the white European swan, the indigenous black swan, both representing a society, a people, a history, and the land, the people being devoured by the people of Britain and ethnics under the authority of the Crown. The blood symbolising the fact that after two hundred years of oppression and war against us, the Indigene, peace, justice, human rights, a Treaty still has not eventuated for us. Our art IS political. Art has always been an extremely powerful communicator of the human factor in all of its inglorious, as well as its glorious manifestations.

Written for New Tracks, Old Land internationally travelling exhibition.



"Culture has to be developed from the heart, from the depths of human integrity, the depths of human passion, the depths of human creativity and I believe that, if there ever is to be a sound overall culture for this land, it has to involve everyone and it must involve everyone and it must evolve or be based upon those fine aspects of the human family – integrity, justice, vision, creativity, life, honour …"
Kevin Gilbert, 1992


Kevin speaks about his print making...

As a child, sitting, drawing in the ashes of the campfires with twigs and charcoal, aware of the old pieces of tin, hessian bag and canvas that formed our shanty, our humpies, I never even dreamt of being an artist. I was very much aware of the colonial attitudes, the injustice of having my land, Wiradjuri land, stolen from us, my people forced to live in refugee situations, on travelling stock reserves, forbidden to be in the white township after dark, the tens of decades of massacre, oppression, abuse of our human rights.

In 1965, mature, I saw art, and writing as a way to communicate.

my-fathers-studio My Father's Studio was my first lino print. Carved with tools I'd made from a spoon, gem blades, nails on a piece of old, brittle lino off the prison floor, I wanted to show the natural pride and completeness of the Aboriginal artist, the cave, the art, the landscape.
totality Totality:

“The one wonderful completeness: humankind, creatures, spirit, land, universe. ...It’s a print done more in asserting the totality of the human personality in proper development with the land, with the sky. I would like to try and represent myself or other human beings, especially Aboriginals, as being one very tiny part in the total universe and I’m trying to do this in Totality.

“I, as a human being, am no more important, possibly not as important, as a tree. I am possibly not as important as a rock. A rock, for instance, will gradually erode over the millennia and gradually release particles and minerals into the earth before gradually merging with the earth. Other animals’ life work in the totality of life can be extremely destructive. Human beings are extremely destructive, unless they understand the totality and how they are only as important as, equally as important as, the rocks and trees. They can’t really advance without that totality, without recognising that totality. You can be a conservationist, or a greenie or a miner; each one of those stands is fairly irrelevant unless you take on the responsibility within the total aspect of all forms of life and creation.”

colonising species Colonising Species:

In 1989 I carved Colonising Species symbolising the white European swan, the Indigenous black swan, both representing a society, a people, a history, and the land, the people being devoured by the people of Britain and ethnics under the authority of the Crown.

The blood symbolises the fact that after two hundred years of oppression and war against us, the Indigene, peace, justice, human rights, a Treaty has still not eventuated for us.

Our art is political. Art has always been an extremely powerful communicator of the human factor in all of its inglorious, as well as its glorious, manifestations.

christmas-eve Christmas Eve in the Land of the Dispossessed:

“That picture became very meaningful to me. It’s possibly my most favourite print, the one I emotionally identify with the most. And, of course, that is part of my formative desire to be able to expou
nd, wherever possible, on the Aboriginal situation by whatever way, through art or whatever form.”

corroboree-spirits Corroboree Spirits:
“We have here an Aboriginal group, who are very much part of the landscape, who are almost submerged within the landscape or slightly submerging out of the landscape, and they are inseparable from the landscape.”
massacre-mountain. Massacre Mountain:
“… was simply a part of the massacres in the time of early colonisation. We’ve got Dingoman. We’ve got Eagleman flying and that was just a reflection of what I was feeling – the continual destruction always, always the denial of the Peoples’ right.”

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