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  • Dianne McDonald-Hughes Dianne McDonald-Hughes (Stolen Generations), On Country

Dianne McDonald-Hughes (Stolen Generations), On Country

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synthetic polymer paint and hessian on board, 2023


On Country shows the Old People travelling through the hot desert. This is how I feel my family were as they sat, walked, held hands, talked, and gathered. Country gave them food. But above all it depicts the peace, joy, and happiness of being together. They are part of my spiritual world and Dreaming.


Artist Bio:

Dianne was a ward of the state of Victoria in the 1950's-60's and is a recognised member of the Stolen Generations.

After leaving the Homes Dianne lived in Fitzroy where she continued her community connections with girls she'd grown up with, as well as connecting with other mob who were living there at the time.

In the decades from the 1970's Dianne has worked behind the scenes in community advocating for participation and change in spaces such as Australia Post, The ILC, Kangan TAFE, and other grass roots organisations.

In her sixties, after a breakdown suffered from the trauma in her childhood, she began painting as a way to heal and connect with culture. Always a collector, she first began painting the dilly bags she had kept in an old trunk. Painting was relaxing and gave her the space to connect spiritually with ancestors who she says help in guiding the paintings.

She also draws on stories she's been told over the years as inspiration, and follows protocols as part of her respect for culture, and other communities. She uses acrylic paint, as well as mixed media such as old hessian bags and wallpapers to comment on the impact and adaption of colonisation. She paints on 3-ply board, some that is 80 years old, and for her sculptural works uses old wire fencing, and collected natural materials such as pods and she oak.

Each of her artworks tells a story as she weaves her blossoming cultural identity through art, gaining strength from bringing; what was meant to be erased, unknown and lost, back into being with boldness, care, power and beauty.