Campbelltown Arts Centre commemorates the Appin massacre with a major exhibition of new work by Aboriginal Australian and First Nations Canadian artists
"With Secrecy and Despatch" is a phrase taken from secret orders written by Governor Macquarie to his troops in 1816 commanding them to commit a massacre of the Dharawal people living in the Appin region of New South Wales – where Campbelltown Arts Centre now stands.
This new exhibition, which reflects on the parallel colonial histories of Australia and Canada, brings together Indigenous artists from both countries to create work that directly commemorates the Appin massacre or more generally reflects on episodes of genocide and violence in each nation's history.
At the centre of the exhibition are newly-commissioned works by six Aboriginal Australian artists – Vernon Ah Kee, Tony Albert, Julie Gough, Genevieve Grieves, Dale Harding and Frances Belle Parker – and four First Nations Canadian artists: Jordan Bennett, Cheryl L’Hirondelle, Marianne Nicolson and Adrian Stimson.
A new composition commission by Nardi Simpson (of the Stiff Gins) and Amanda Brown (The Go-Betweens) is also featured within the exhibition.
In addition, curators Tess Allas (AUS) and David Garneau (CAN) have selected existing works by Gordon Bennett, Milton Budge, Robert Campbell Jnr., Fiona Foley, Jennifer Herd, Dianne Jones, Queenie McKenzie, Laurel Nannup, Rover Thomas, Freddie Timms and Judy Watson.
With Secrecy and Despatch is a major exhibition three years in the making, created by C-A-C in collaboration with UNSW Art and Design, Canada Council for the Arts, Arts NSW, Australia Council for Arts and Winga Myamly Reconciliation Group.