Bluey and Curley Conduct the Children's Choir 2002

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For artists interested in questions of social and political justice there is a strong tradition of working with symbols and images appropriated from the wider culture. The installation interrogates Australia’s racist assumptions regarding Islam arising from stereotypical signs related to traditional Muslim attire, alluding to the fact that these attitudes persist and drive Australia’s involvement in the current Iraqi war. Asking, does the social history of racism in Australia contribute to the imposition of a stereotypical identity for Islamic women? Bluey and Curley Conduct the Children's Choir explores how racist attitudes in Western cultures contribute towards stereotypical definitions of identity specifically with regards Islamic women. Drawing on the humorous and often racist narratives about the attitudes of Australian WWII diggers to non westerners in the comic strip, Bluey and Curley first published in the 1941, the installation transforms girls’ facial features into stereotypical representations of Islamic females through the addition of a head scarf, despite their obviously varied nationalities. The significance of Bluey and Curley Conduct the Children’s Choir is demonstrated by its inclusion in the exhibition Borderpanic at Performance Space and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.
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Ely, Bonita Ann
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Kelly, Deborah
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