UNSETTLED exhibition at the Australian Museum 2021

Kitten, Chief of Sydney Tribe Breastplate, date and maker unknown (Australian Museum Collection, photographed for the Unsettled exhibition March 2021)

This land was not peacefully settled. The exhibition Unsettled at the Australian Museum uncovers the untold histories behind this nation’s foundation story. In this powerful exhibition, First Nations voices reveal the hidden stories of devastation, survival and the fight for recognition. These first-hand accounts are presented through long hidden historical documents, large-scale artworks, immersive experiences and never-before-seen objects from the Australian Museum collections and beyond.

First Nations Elders including Uncle Waubin Richard Aken (Kaurareg), Aunty Fay Moseley (Wiradjuri) and Uncle Noel Butler (Budawang), share their lived experiences. Featuring the work of contemporary artists including Ryan Presley, Tony Albert, Charlotte Allingham (Coffin Birth), Jai Darby Walker and Danie Mellor, this free exhibition interrogates the lasting impacts of colonisation and the denial of Indigenous sovereignty.

With more than 80 significant cultural objects and over 100 contributions by First Nations peoples across the country, Unsettled illuminates the power of truth-telling to realise change. Understanding our shared past is an important step towards healing for a shared future.

When: 22 May until 10 October 2021
Where: Exhibition Hall, Australian Museum, College Street, Sydney
Find out more: https://australian.museum/exhibition/unsettled

More information about the featured image: There is very little information in living memory about Kitten. What is known is that he was one of the first people to be given a brass gorget, king plate or breastplate. In December 1816, Governor Macquarie began the practice of awarding breastplates to those who agreed to “sue for peace” and adopt the “plan of life” Macquarie had devised for them. The awards were made at the “Native Feasts” he hosted at Parramatta once a year, to which different clan groups would travel and where they would accept gifts of clothes and blankets.


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