Satirical images but in a deeply serious vein, the exhibition Get well soon: a diagnosis opened at Gallery 26 in Darwin last night. Artists Therese Ritchie and Chips Mackinolty presented 14 images of famous and infamous white Australians connected to dialysis machines. It’s an unlikely scenario, as 98 percent of Territorians on dialysis are indigenous Australians. To quote one of the notorious figures depicted “it’s confronting…it’s confronting”. The take home message from the show is that if this was happening to well off white folk like it’s happening to black folk, something serious would be done by state, territory and Federal Governments to address the issue meaningfully.”
I will try to attach a dropbox link in my first attempt to hook a dropbox pdf file to Tumblr. If it doesn’t take you straight to the catalogue from the show, try cut and paste into your browser…but fingers crossed it may work!

Darwin artist and social commentator Therese Ritchie celebrated  a recent camping trip to Arnhem Land by our Prime Minister Tony Abbott with creation of this wonderfully cliched spear and foot-on-knee pose graphic. Prime Minister Abbott, aka Crusader Abbott, went out to stay in an army tent in NE Arnhem Land for a few days before he had to rush off to deal with his ISIS crisis. Since assuming Prime Ministership Tony Abbott has laid waste to many important indigenous programs and has brought Indigenous affairs under the exclusive management of Prime Minister and Cabinet — a kind of “great white father” thing one might say. 

Little Prick is a faux magazine, named after potty-mouth remarks by a Northern Territory politician. For some years now Therese and her mates have been producing colorful and caustic comment as Little Prick front covers. 

Which serves as a reminder that Therese and her long-time fellow traveller Chips Mackinolty open their Get Well Soon exhibition at Gallery 26 in Darwin tomorrow night. 

I’ll post pictures from Get Well Soon, once they are out from under wraps. Needless to say, they’re quirky and on target, politically.

Back in 1983 I introduced Darwin photographer Therese Ritchie to the then-manager of Katherine’s Mimi Arts and Crafts, Chips Mackinolty, to do a shoot of the women weavers at Numbulwar on the Gulf of Carpentaria. My matchmaking with the two artists succeeded! They have worked together on and off ever since in a series of art projects and exhibitions. Indeed the three of us were partners in crime with a graphic arts/research company called Green Ant RAP in the 1990s.
Get well soon! A diagnosis, is their sixth outing together (they’ve been in dozens of group shows), and opens at Gallery 26 in Winnellie, an industrial suburb of Darwin, on 2 October 2014. Gallery 26 is the brainchild of photo journalist Dave Hancock.
It’s a show that takes a pretty hard look at the health situation of Aboriginal people in remote Australia, with a focus on End Stage Kidney Disease. But rather than focusing on Aboriginal people as victims—which is the most common meme—Therese and Chips turn the idea around … with something of a different diagnosis.
There are 14 powerful digital prints in the show: it will be interesting to see what the response is to them.
The images for Get well soon! are under wraps at the moment, but one related to health from Therese from a few years features in the next blog posting.
As Therese and Chips put it:
“Whether we like to admit it or not, artists often deal in clichés—sometimes to praise or reflect them; at other times to bury them. To the small extent that Australian artists (along with journalists, commentators and politicians) have dealt with Aboriginal health issues at all, we often find ourselves buried in the visual and written clichés of victimhood, suffering and despair. In our practice over many years, we have perhaps erred on the other side in trying to avoid the archetypes of victimhood—not least in looking at health.
“And as graphic artists, we have tried to look towards solutions, from immunisation to management of asthma, and from the role of Aboriginal Health Workers to community control of primary health care and beyond.”
There’s a great catalogue attached to the show which will be on sale, and a low res version of the catalogue on the Web from the time it opens.