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02 Jun - 09 Oct

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26 Aug, 7.00pm, MCA

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28 Aug, 10.30am, Level 3: National Centre for Creative Learning

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MCA ARTBAR Yal Kuna (My Mates) = Blessed

Wanna hang with Eric and his mates? Brisbane-based artist Eric Bridgeman gathers his art family who he has borrowed at various times throughout his practice and gives them the stage. more

Art Party: MCA Social flickers and flares

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Fiona Foley, Troy Melville

Bliss  2006

single-channel digital video, colour, sound, 11min 20s

11 min 20s

Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with funds provided by the Coe and Mordant families, 2009

2009.16

About the Artwork

The work Bliss, by Brisbane-based Indigenous artist Fiona Foley, is a work concerned with the hidden history of settler and Indigenous relations in Queensland, and in particular, the 1897 Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act. This Act, and the part it played in the subjugation of Indigenous people in Queensland, through creating a dependency on narcotics, as well as the role that it played in the troubled relations between White, Asian and Indigenous peoples, has resulted in a major body of work by the artist.

A sense of opium’s hypnotic effects is elaborated upon by the rustling sounds and movement of poppy heads revolving on their stems, interspersed with short quotes from Rosalind Kidd’s book The Way We Civilise. This forensic archival study examines the disastrous consequences of benevolently intentioned projects that sought to reform Indigenous Australians from 1897 to 19881. Bliss’s vivid and dynamic footage of poppies grown on a Tasmanian plantation for medical purposes provokes contemplation on the nature of the ‘fix’ that addictive substances offer to individual and social conflicts.

Artist Statement

For me, what I like to do is work with this material and put it out in the public arena and say, “Look at this. How are you engaging with this aspect of our history?” For a lot of people it is a huge eye-opener. I see my role really as an educator. Every time I insert into the public realm a work that involves a historical context or underpinning, it really is about educating Queenslanders about their own history.

I see my role really as an educator. Every time I insert into the public realm a work that involves a historical context or underpinning, it really is about educating Queenslanders about their own history.

Fiona Foley, 2010

Fiona Foley

– About the artist

b.1964

Learn more
– Other works by the artist

Troy Melville

– About the artist
Learn more

– View also

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