It takes as its starting point the landmark 1992 High Court ruling in favour of Torres Strait Islander land-rights activist Edward Koiki Mabo. The ruling overturned terra nullius (meaning ‘land belonging to no-one’), the doctrine on which the British justified colonising the land now known as Australia in 1780.
The exhibition over five rooms explores how artists have acknowledged the continuing relationship Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have with their lands, as well as the ongoing impact of colonisation and the complexities of representation in Australian society today.
The exhibition will feature many works of art jointly acquired by Tate and the MCA in Sydney through an innovative partnership established in 2015 via a gift from the Qantas Foundation. These include works which interrogate post-colonial histories, narrate political tensions, and illustrate how the oldest continuous living cultures in the world, reaching back 65,000 years, assert custodianship of country in contemporary art today.
Research supported by Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational