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Dale Ruska, creator of Goenpul Woodworks launched his Black Boy exhibition as part of the Straddie Arts Trail in August 2022.

Black Boy was created to raise national conscience and awareness of the scale of injustices that the Original First Nations people of Australia face. The featured piece in the Black Boy exhibition (pictured below) deeply defines the experiences of both the human and tree black boy. It takes the viewer on a journey from pre-invasion, invasion through to today.

BLACK BOY [pre-invasion]:

The six pillars are symbolic of a minimum of ten millenniums per pillar, representing no less than 60 thousand years of native humans belonging to the many tribal lands and their environments and ecosystems encompassing Australia's continent. The original native human species of the continent, six ancient pillars of Black Boy Aboriginal societies.

TERRA NULLIUS [invasion]

The slab is made from camphor laurel, an introduced plant species symbolic of colonial invasion and all that it represents to many Aboriginal peoples. It symbolises how colonial impositions have affected our ancient continent, environment, ecosystems and ourselves, Black Boy.

BLACK BOYS [today]

The nine Black Boy bowls that sit on the camphor laurel slab all come from an area within a couple of kilometres on the Island. They are the same species belonging to the same ancient forest stand, yet they are so diverse in colour and contrast from the darkest black to a yellow, almost white. The bowls represent the nine generations of my family’s being since the colonial invasion of our ancient place commenced; I am the seventh generation, my children the eighth and my grandchildren the ninth generation. All are diversely different in colour and look, yet all formed from the same pillars of this continent's ancient societies.


Black Boy Exhibition.jpg
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