May 19, 2014

Auckland Writers Festival 2014: "An Interior Life: Rod Moss"

Guest post by Theo terBorg, Manager Collections Development, Auckland Libraries.

I went to this session out of a mixed interest in painting and aboriginal culture. I had recently watched the DVD of First Australians: the untold story of Australia, and wondered how this story has continued into the present. I guess this session answered my question.

Rod Moss by Shaan Raza
Rod Moss comes across as a modest, quietly spoken man, compassionate but with a strong will. His close friendships with Aboriginal people in Alice Springs and in particular the local Arrernte people have given him insights into both their ways of being and his own.

Rod talked about the veils between the two cultures and the racism that moves in both directions. It is the Aboriginal people, however, who live without proper housing, health care and education. And with alcoholism and substance abuse.

Rod’s painting is anchored in this reality. He works slowly from photos and works with local Aboriginal people. For the painting "Law Courts Alice Springs"(1999), viewable on his website, Rod asked local Aboriginal people to model, which they were keen to do.

Both Rod’s books, The Hard Light of Day and One Thousand Cuts: Life and Art in Central Australia include a selection of his paintings.

It is also timely that the Auckland Art Gallery is presently showing the exhibition My Country: Contemporary Art from Black Australia.

Stephanie Johnson did well in asking some probing and also some very personal questions, including questions about his personal relationships and why they failed, and why he has not had an Aboriginal partner. Rod answered these questions honestly, commenting that as he reveals the lives of other people, he should do the same for his own life.

Rod Moss’s work reminds me of the work of Sally Morgan (author of My Place) and Bruce Chatwin (author of The Songlines).

This is important work as these untold stories must be told so that the lives of Aboriginal people can be improved.

Ditulis Oleh : Karen Craig // 16:50


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