Ochre painting on art paper, by Nick Kupetsky, 100cm x 70cm.
Truganini is probably the best known Tasmanian Aboriginal women of the colonial era. She was of the Nuenonne group, born on Bruny Island in about 1812, just nine years after British settlement was established further north on the mainland, close to what is now Hobart. By the time she had learned to collect food and make shell necklaces, the colonial presence became not only intrusive but dangerous. She had experienced and witnessed violence, rape and brutalities inflicted on her people. By the time she was 17 she had lost her mother, sister, uncle and would-be partner to violent incidents involving sailors, sealers, soldiers and wood cutters. This story has resonated in Nick which inspired him to create a series on the last Tasmanians.
Nick Kupetsky is a Palawa man from Tasmania and has been an artist for well over twenty years. His works have been exhibited in the National Gallery of Victoria and he has exhibited extensively through being a member of Baluk Arts Aboriginal Art Centre based in Mornington VIC.
Nick's work is inspired by old black and white photographs of his ancestors from Tasmania that provide a historical reference to the events of European impact on Tasmanian Aboriginal people. Nicks large charcoal and ochre drawings create the overwhelming emotion of the people who have been pictured which express grief, loss, confusion and dismay. Nick captures the persons strength, determination and inherent cultural integrity despite of what is happening to them. Nick has used his art to research his background and understand his history as a Palawa man.