Frances Belle Parker: TRUTH (Just be careful who you offend)

This exhibition is a response to the ongoing censorship and silencing of First Nations voices.

Frances Belle Parker Exhibition logo

Frances Belle Parker is a proud Yaegl woman, mother and artist from the Clarence Valley, she is deeply inspired by her Mother’s land (Yaegl land), and the Island in the Clarence River that her Mother grew up on, Ulgundahi Island. Frances has been a practising artist for the last 22 years coming to prominence after winning the Blake Prize in 2000, making her the youngest ever winner and the first Indigenous recipient in the prize’s history. 

Since then she has exhibited nationally and internationally, undertaken art residencies in China and Andorra and worked on several Public Art Projects, including the Northern Beaches Coastal Walk and the Pacific Highway Aboriginal Art Trail.In 2021 Frances designed and screened her digital work ‘Angwirri’ on the sails of the Sydney Opera House on 26 January 2021.

‘I am inspired by the Yaegl Landscape and those stories which were shared with me and passed down from our old people, it is my responsibility to document these stories and to map our landscape, in doing so I am making a valuable resource for my children and all of the younger Yaegl mob.’

'This exhibition is a response to the ongoing censorship and silencing of First Nations voices.Trauma runs deep for so many of our mob and we need to deal with this through all available means. 

In late 2020 I was approached by the NSW Australia Day Council to create an artwork to be screened on the Sydney Opera House. Although hesitant to be involved in a day that commemorates a time that caused so much hurt, I accepted in the hope I could use my work to educate. I designed a work with stark imagery and symbols depicting pain, loss and the blood shed. This work was rejected because the Council ‘..could not be seen to offend the right wing..’ population. 

I won’t be censored; my people will not be censored. Let’s talk about the pain of invasion, the massacres, the abuse. To heal, we need to be able to share our history honestly! Frances Belle Parker. Yaegl woman, mother and artist. 2022

This exhibition is on view until Sunday 18 June 2023.

Image credits:
Above: Exhibition logo, 2023 (detail). Courtesy of the artist.
Homepage square: Truth be Told (Just be careful who you offend), 2022, digital artwork (detail). Courtesy of the artist
Slider: Truth be Told (Just be careful who you offend), 2022, digital artwork (detail). Courtesy of the artist

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