For better and for worse, the history of Australian law is inextricably linked to our encounter with Aboriginal Australians.
Under the leadership of Professor Tim Bonyhady, the joint director of The Australian National University (ANU) Centre for Law, Arts and Humanities, ANU College of Law has curated a remarkable collection of posters and photographs documenting major milestones in Australia’s Indigenous political history over the past fifty years.
For better and for worse, the history of Australian law is inextricably linked to our encounter with Aboriginal Australians. It is a history that Australian law sometimes addresses, sometimes perpetuates, and often prefers to forget.
Images are integral to that history. They document, indoctrinate, educate, provoke and inspire. They are Australia’s visual constitution – a vital counterpoint to the written texts that pre-occupy lawyers.
Conscious of our responsibilities as Australia’s national law school, this collection represents politically engaged prints, posters and photographs that are aesthetically compelling, historically significant and form an indispensable framework for the teaching and research that takes place here.
These artworks, by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, combine iconic images, widely exhibited and reproduced, with some which have rarely if ever been shown before. They address key issues and events from land rights and treaty negotiations to murder and incarceration. They fuel our imagination, invite our indignation and, above all, solicit our involvement in this our troubled legal history.
View the Indigenous Art and Politics Exhibition collection at Moot Court Foyer, Building 6A, ANU College of Law, 5 Fellows Road, Acton.
Learn more about our students' engagement with these artworks, including video reflections for a group assignment, in Law and Art: Representation and Critique (LAWS2290/4231) here.