A few days ago a powerful political image was painted onto a Brisbane city wall seeking to provoke thought and debate about the treatment of Aboriginal Australians.
The artistic duo behind the image is Land Writers, known individually as Warraba Weatherall and Daniel Jones, who said they were motivated to create the piece after the revelations coming out of the Don Dale Detention Centre in the Northern Territory and recent deaths in custody.
“We wanted to do something that’s relevant to Aboriginal politics and to what’s been happening recently and in the last 50 years, especially the Don Dale stuff, Ms Dhu over in WA, Mr Ward before that Daniel Yock in '92,” said Weatherall.
“I think it is something that needed to be a bit more public action rather than just social media lip service or bureaucrats talking that sh*t like they usually do.”
Weatherall said the two figures depicted - an Aboriginal man and a uniformed police officer - were not meant to be particular people so much as representatives of two groups that so often clashed.
The wall was donated by the owner, who remained anonymous to Land Writers for the project. The location is especially significant, says Weatherall, given it is adjacent to Musgrave Park, which has cultural and political significance.
“It’s a pretty iconic park in Brisbane. It’s sort of like the central hub for a lot of Aboriginal community in the city and it’s where a lot of people congregate as a meeting place for protest. And it used to be a significant area for traditional owners as well."
The mural will not stay forever. The car park wall is slated for demolition in coming months, but Weatherall said he hopes it will have made its mark by then.
“We did this to start with, but we were thinking after we finished the wall that there might a chance people would be offsided by it and might paint over it. But so far so good,” he said.