It’s just over a year since Australia was given a chance to say a collective ‘sorry‘ for the horrors we have inflicted upon our aboriginal people over the past 220-or-so years, particularly the ghastly government policy of removing children from their families, leading to the decimiation of entire generations of family connections.
Gordon Bennett’s alter-ego John Citizen is now exhibiting at Sutton Gallery in an exhibition that is political, ironic and very timely. The series presents idealised interiors, furnished with generic Ikea furniture, surely the epitome of western consumption and conformity. On the walls are stylised aboriginal artworks, one with haunting faces forming a cruel juxtaposition with the ‘perfect’ surrounds, others standing awkwardly next to absurd portraits of smiling couples.
Bennett’s artworks assert the truth that despite the success and collective easing of guilt brought by our government’s 2008 apology to the stolen generation, we still have a long way to go before we truly accept and respect our indigenous past as having much more depth than just a few pretty images on the wall.