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On Line Exhibition

Telling More of the Story

Paintings, Photography and Drawings by Barbara Robinson.



Before being thrust into a Co-Vid-19 pandemic along with the rest of the world, Australia struggled valiantly with very extensive bushfires.


Bushfire 2020


Painting; Bushfire 2020
Acrylic on canvas, 30.5 cm x 30.5 cm



This exhibition consists of art inspired by inner Melbourne and the Victorian coastline. My artwork is DOCUMENTARY in approach: I'm stating what exists in my part of Melbourne and I want people to go out and see for themselves what is unique and powerful
about inner Melbourne and the Victorian coast.

Part of my practice highlights the Aboriginal history and presence in inner Melbourne – other topics are environmental and lifestyle.

The inner suburb of Thornbury is one of the places where the Aboriginal presence and history is proudly evident.

The title of this exhibition, "Telling More of the Story", references Lidia Thorpe, the first Aboriginal woman in the Senate. Her quote in the Melbourne Age was "Lets tell the whole story". Lidia Thorpe is of Gunai-Gunditjmara heritage, and formerly held the Greens party seat of Northcote.


Fairground style cut-outs



Fairground style cut-outs, Survival/Invasion Day. 2016, Fitzroy Gardens.
Gouache on 300 gsm watercolour paper, 60.5 cm x 45.5 cm.


This is one of a series I have painted inspired by this day in 2016. In the Melbourne Age 17/6/20 Lidia Thorpe was referring to a monument to the white explorer John Batman at Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market. The original inscription on the Victorian era monument commemorated Batman's founding of a settlement on "the site of Melbourne, then unoccupied ", perpetuating the myth of terra nullius. It has been twice amended, in 1992 and 2004 to make it clear that the land was inhabited by Aboriginal people, that the original inscription was inaccurate, and that Melbourne's traditional owners are owed an apology for the offence this caused.

The monument stands on the edge of a parking lot. It remains offensive to some Aboriginal people. The asphalt covers Melbourne's original cemetery, and the remains of 6000 people, including Batman. Melbourne City Council has approved a plan to tear up the car park and make it public space. The Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung traditional owners and Batman's surviving descendants will be consulted. Lidia Thorpe says that although it is not her decision to make, she would be happy to see Batman commemorated in the new park as one layer within a complex history. "There is a big story to be told. Lets tell the whole story and we will all learn something from it."

The Age, July 10, 2020. Former West Indies cricketer Michael Holding did not mince words in an address on racism.

"History is written by the conqueror, not by those who are conquered. History is written by the people who do the harming, not those who are harmed. The dehumanization of the black race is where it started. People will tell you 'that's a long time ago, get over it.' No, you don't get over things like that. How do you get rid of that in society? By educating both sides – black and white. I hope people realize this Black Lives Matter movement is not trying to get black people above white people or anyone else, it is all about equality. So don't shout back at us that all lives matter. We want black lives to matter now as well. Its as simple as that."


Placard from Black Lives Matter demonstration


Placard from Black Lives Matter demonstration held in Melbourne in March 2020, held during the first Co-Vid 19 wave.


"More than 400 Indigenous Australians have died in police custody since the royal commission into deaths in custody in 1991." [crikey.com.au].


The writer Monica Tan wants all Australians, including Asian Australians, [she herself is of Asian Australian heritage], to learn about Aboriginal culture, and not leave it up to Indigenous Australians [3-5% of the population], to teach the rest. 3RRR FM radio, 3/7/2019.

250 kilometers west of Melbourne lies Budj Bim, one of the worlds oldest aqua cultural systems, built by the Gunditjmara people around the crater of a dead volcano. It is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Indigenous academic and writer Marcia Langton wrote in her recent book Welcome to Country – "For thousands of years, the original inhabitants of Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples occupied the lands with very different boundaries than today, centred on intimate cultural relationships with the land and sea."

Indigenous activist Vincent Lingiari – Wattie Creek, 1966 "What was here before Lord Vestey [British land owner in Australia] was born and I was born? It was blackfella country."

Father Dave Passi, Plaintiff in the Mabo case, successfully argued against the theory of TERRA NULLIUS, which claimed Australia was unoccupied at the time of white settlement. "Its my father's land, my grandfather's land, my grandmother's land. And I'm related to it which also gives me my identity".

In the book Dark Emu, writer Bruce Pascoe describes how Aboriginal Australians farmed the land, e.g. extensively growing the yam daisy (murnong), storing grain in stone buildings and using sophisticated fish traps. Bruce Pascoe has Bunurong, Tasmanian and Yuin heritage.
Pascoe also points out that Indigenous people built villages with wells, dams, permanent buildings made of clay-coated wood and elaborate cemeteries. "A land that sustained an economy, a land that was theirs, They constructed a system of pan-continental government that generated peace and prosperity".

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd – The Complacent Country, The Saturday Paper, September 6, 2019 says:

"Our definition of identity should begin with a profound pride in Australia's Indigenous origins. This of course must also be anchored in a shared responsibility for past injustices to our Indigenous brothers and sisters and a common resolve to chart a fully reconciled future as one national family. Our modern Australian identity should also own with pride our Anglo-Celtic traditions, not as a great British Empire, but as inheritors of the common law, centuries of legal constraint against the arbitrary exercise of absolute power, and an independent legal system to give effect before the law. So, too, has our identity been shaped by the arrival of millions from other lands, widening the Anglo Celtic monoculture into a living, creative multi-culture."

Kevin Rudd adds:-

"We are enriched by the feminisation of our national identity beyond the tediously macho stereotypes of our past, and with our fuller understanding of human sexuality".

Journalist Stan Grant – The Saturday Paper, May 24, 2019.

"Liberalism was meant to deliver The End of History, a world of globalization, universal human rights, freedom of movement, free trade. But it has unsettled our world and history is back. This is fertile ground for the populist politician who feeds on grievances and anxiety and seeks to pit people against each other. Societies are reduced to Us and Them. The American political scholar Amy Chua calls this political tribalism and a 21st-century law of the jungle, where we are apt to tear each other limb from limb. She says it has already triggered a revolution in American politics, putting Donald Trump in the white house. At a time when liberalism and democracy are under strain, the Uluru Statement from the Heart provides a glimmer of hope. It speaks against the age. How remarkable that people historically locked out of the Australian dream can believe in the constitution – can have faith that our nation's founding document can work for them."

The Uluru Statement says – "When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country." The Uluru statement seeks to free Indigenous people from the "torment of powerlessness."

Wesley Enoch, a Noonuccal Nuugi man, The Saturday Paper, January 25 2019.

"Change the date of Australia day, don't change the date – I am agnostic. I can imagine a 3 stage national day of the future, one that stretches from our long first nations history, through the narrative of the British arrival, to the waves of immigrant arrivals, and life here now, past present and future".

The Age newspaper, 15/11/19. Film director Rachel Perkins [daughter of Aboriginal activist Charles Perkins] spoke at the Boyer Lecture of the "Great Australian Forgetfulness" – exclusion of the existence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian consciousness. "We must overcome this in order to go forward as a great nation".


Aboriginal Aussie Rules Football Heroes


Aboriginal Aussie Rules Football Heroes Mural painting
Gouache on 300 gsm watercolour paper, 60.5 cm x 45.5 cm.



Sport Cut outs


Sport Cut outs painting.
Gouache on 300 gsm watercolour paper, 60.5 cm x 45.5 cm.


I include these previously exhibited paintings which reference Aboriginal presence and culture. They were inspired by the 2016 Survival/invasion/Australia Day, held at the Fitzroy Gardens. They also reference the origins of Australian Rules Football in MARNGROOK, an indigenous football game using a stuffed possum skin for a ball. These games sometimes lasted for a couple of days duration.


Paintings, photographs and drawings were produced on Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung land, part of the Kulin nation, and I would like to take this opportunity to pay my respects to elders, past, present and future.


Hazelwood Power Station - Morewell Street Scene


* The Age newspaper, 20/11/19. The managers of the now closed Hazelwood power station were charged with 10 breaches of safety laws [endangerment], when fire spread to the open cut coal mine, blanketing the surrounding area in 2014.

* The Age newspaper, 19/5/20. Hazelwood power corporation were charged $1.56 million over the mine fire. The fire burned for 6 weeks, causing health problems for many.

* The Age newspaper 2/5/20. Chimneys demolished at Hazelwood.

As a 12 year old student in 1964, I was sent by "red rattler" train on an excursion to visit the Latrobe Valley. Black and brown coal usage was almost worshipped in those days. I felt uneasy and was not impressed by its effects on the environment, even then. The use of brown coal – one of the most carbon intensive energy sources – eased by 17% in the 2018 financial year to supply about 13% of energy demand. By 2018 renewable energy contributed to 17% of total generation. While visiting Morwell in 1964, there was no mention of Aboriginal presence or culture. Morwell is Gunai/Kurnai country – as almost all of Gippsland is, from Inverloch to Cann River. While visiting Morwell for a Magritte exhibition at the Latrobe Gallery in late October 2017, I saw there was now an Indigenous presence – an office and meeting area – in the main street of Morwell. Much progress has been made.


Street scene, Morwell


Street scene, Morwell.
Acrylic on canvas. 35.5 cm x 28 cm.



Hazelwood power station



The now demolished Hazelwood power station.
Gouache on 300 gsm watercolour, 60.5 cm x 45.5 cm.


Paintings here depict my reaction to a pristine Morwell in October 2017. The air was clean and the town was awash with spring flowers, both native and "exotic" [non endemic plants].

The Age newspaper, 26/6/19.

Energy Australia plans to progressively wind down operations at Yallourn by 2029, but has conceded it could close the plant even earlier. Substantial changes to the energy market could contribute to this.

Prominent Aboriginal spokesperson Noel Pearson pointed out in The Age 5/5/19 that about 3 times more Australian thermal coal is used to fire power stations abroad than our domestic consumption. "To make a dent in global emissions let us curb coal exports. Only then can we in good conscience keep using fossil fuels domestically."


Northcote Aquatic Centre Series


Outdoor Pool 1


Outdoor Pool 1 - 2006, Northcote Aquatic Centre.
Gouache on 300 gsm watercolour paper, 60.5cm x 45.5 cm.



Outdoor Pool 2


Outdoor Pool 2 - 2006, Northcote Aquatic Centre.
Gouache on 300 gsm watercolour paper, 60.5cm x 45.5 cm.



Outdoor Pool 3


Outdoor Pool 3 - 2006, Northcote Aquatic Centre.
Gouache on 300 gsm watercolour paper, 60.5cm x 45.5 cm.



Outdoor Pool 4


Outdoor Pool 4 - 2006, Northcote Aquatic Centre.
Gouache on 300 gsm watercolour paper, 60.5cm x 45.5 cm.


Ocean Grove Series


Late Afternoon, Ocean Grove surf beach, Bellarine peninsular.


Late Afternoon, Ocean Grove surf beach, Bellarine peninsular.
Acrylic on canvas, 51 cm x 41 cm.


I both observe and participate in the surfing sub culture


Abating Storm, Ocean Grove surf beach, Bellarine peninsular.


Abating Storm, Ocean Grove surf beach, Bellarine peninsular.
Acrylic on canvas, 51 cm x 41 cm.




Tide Going Out


Tide Going Out, Ocean Grove surf beach, Bellarine peninsular.
Acrylic on canvas, 51 cm x 41 cm.



Street Graffiti

It is art or is it vandalism? I feel plenty of graffiti is original and beautiful.


Not In Service



Painting , Not In Service, graffiti on tram near Thornbury station.
Acrylic on canvas board, 53.5 cm x 42 cm.


I include a previously exhibited painting dealing with the same subject. The painting is "Street Graffiti", Harold Street Thornbury, Melbourne.



Street Graffiti



Street Graffiti
Gouache on 300 gsm watercolour paper, 60.5 cm x 45.5 cm.



Silver gelatin photographs

I'd like to quote Jordan Kaye, who exhibited photography at Neon Parlour Gallery in Thornbury Melbourne in August 2019.

"It is often said that photography gives us a powerful experience of TEMPORALITY - a moment inaccessible to any gaze . . . . as if the photo is distant from the world it captured."

I feel that about these photographs, particularly the ones from the early 1980's.

These were shot by me on 35mm black and white Kodak PLUS X and TRI – X film, using a Nikkormat Single Lens Reflex [SLR] camera, and processed and printed by myself.



Rusden College, 1983


Rusden College, 1983. Size; - 23.5 cm x 16.5 cm.




Newport, 1981.


Newport, 1981.Size; - 24.5 cm x 16 cm.




West Gate Bridge,1981


West Gate Bridge,1981. Size; - 24.5 cm x 17.5 cm.




Railway Museum, Williamstown, Car, 1981


Railway Museum, Williamstown, Car,1981. Size; - 24 cm x 17 cm.



Railway Museum, Williamstown Red Rattler


Railway Museum, Williamstown Red Rattler, 1981. Size; - 17 cm x 24.5 cm.




You Yangs, 1981


You Yangs, 1981. Size; - 17 cm x 24.5 cm.


Digital Colour Photographs

Photographs taken of a television screen during signal interference.



Loss of Signal - Child's Face 2016


Loss of Signal - Child's Face 2016. Size; - 29 cm x 20 cm.
Inkjet Digital print on photographic paper



Loss of Signal - Roadside 2016


Loss of Signal - Roadside 2016. Size; - 29 cm x 20 cm.
Inkjet Digital print on photographic paper


Thank you to Tim Robinson, who printed the 2 colour digital photographs.



Life Drawings


The following drawings were a result of attending a drawing class in 2018 run by RMIT University fine art graduates. I'd like to thank the "Council of Svoo" Art Collective for this excellent opportunity to draw. Regular drawing practice is essential for artists.



Life Drawing 1


Life Drawing 1 - conte crayon and oil pastel on A2 (420 x 594 mm) cartridge paper.


Life Drawing 5


Life Drawing 5 - conte crayon and oil pastel on A2 (420 x 594 mm) cartridge paper.



Life Drawing 6


Life Drawing 6 - conte crayon and oil pastel on A2 (420 x 594 mm) cartridge paper.


Life Drawing 9


Life Drawing 9 - conte crayon and oil pastel on A2 (420 x 594 mm) cartridge paper.


Life Drawing 10


Life Drawing 10 - conte crayon and oil pastel on A2 (420 x 594 mm) cartridge paper.



Life Drawing 13


Life Drawing 13 - conte crayon and oil pastel on A2 (420 x 594 mm) cartridge paper.



Life Drawing 15


Life Drawing 15 - conte crayon and oil pastel on A2 (420 x 594 mm) cartridge paper.


The paintings, photographs and drawings in this on line exhibition are for sale.

Reasonable prices on application.


Please use the form here to contact me regarding any queries