• The Google Doodle celebrating Aunty Pearl Gibbs, by artist Dylan Mooney. (Dylan Mooney)Source: Dylan Mooney
The giant of 20th century Aboriginal resistance was celebrated in a portrait on Google's homepage.
NITV Staff Writer

19 Jul 2021 - 5:37 PM  UPDATED 20 Jul 2021 - 2:38 PM

Aunty Pearl Gibbs has been celebrated on the homepage of the internet, with a famous "Google Doodle" dedicated to the civil rights activist on the 120th anniversary of her birthday.

Yuwi, Meriam, and South Sea Islander artist Dylan Mooney was commissioned to make the work on behalf of the tech company.

The 25-year-old said it was an honour to remember and commemorate Aunty Pearl with his work. 

"(At university) we had to research mob that did activism within the community, (those who) were fighting for Indigenous issues, our rights, so I knew about Aunty Pearl.

"I was honoured to do (her), and to work with her family as well, following what they wanted to see and bringing their vision to life."

Mooney said there are no pictures of the activist in colour, and so he worked with Gibbs' descendants to get the representation right. 

"I went to (them), to make sure the skin tone was correct, the colour of her eyes, her hair. Asking those questions to make sure it was accurate."

He said the family were pleased with his efforts.

"They were very positive, and said thanks for bringing Aunty Pearl to life."

Gibbs was descended of the Ngiyampaa people on her mother's side, and was a public face of the fight for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander emancipation in the 20th century. 

Born in 1901 in Sydney's La Perouse, Gibbs was involved in many of the historic protests that saw Indigenous people fighting for sovereignty and self-determination after more than a century of colonial atrocities. 

In the 1930s she organised strikes for Aboriginal women who were pea-pickers, demanded better conditions. 

In 1938, working with fellow activists Jack Patton and Bill Ferguson, she organised the Day of Mourning and Protest to take place on January 26, what we today would call Invasion Day. 

Gibbs continued to fight for Aboriginal people through the 50s and 60s, including advocating for First Nations people living on reserves.

Frustrated by the lack of progress on this front, in 1957 she organised a rally of about 500 Aboriginal people at the Sydney Town Hall. The rally launched a national petition for changes to the Australian Constitution.

The petition demanded that Aboriginal people be given the same political rights as other Australians. This campaign led to the referendum of 1967 which changed the two parts of the Constitution that discriminated against Aboriginal people.

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