By Lucinda Horrocks, 16 October 2015.
“I realise the dispossession of Aboriginal people and the legacy of racist colonialism is still present in the bones of my home”
Aunty Marlene Gilson’s paintbrush is tiny. It’s narrow as a twig, a fraction the width of her thumbnail. She holds it poised in one hand while rummaging for paint amongst the crumpled tubes lying randomly on a chair next to her. She talks constantly, nervous because we are there. “Where’s the red?” she says. “You know, I can never find it. “ She dips the brush into the paint tube with a practised gesture. “I’m not supposed to do it this way”, she says, “but it’s easier”. She leans close to the large canvas and traces a line, a thread of colour. Bright pigments. Red first. Then yellow, then white. She is lighting a campfire, the simple colours morphing into flames before my eyes. “I wasn’t going to light the fire but I think it looks better.” She dabs on a bit of white and black with a dirty sponge. “That’s the smoke”, she says. And indeed it is, drifting lazily past some tiny figures around a campfire.
“That’s done.” She says.