Derogatory comments made to three young Aboriginal women, written on their faces in a series of photographs, is among the bold works featured in a NAIDOC Week exhibition at burraja gallery.
Curator Bethany Thornber wants viewers to reflect on how they speak to Aboriginal people, and the ongoing effect colonisation has, in viewing the work of 15 artists.
"This is our second NAIDOC exhibition; last year's theme was 'because of her we can', celebrating the roles Aboriginal women play in their communities," she said.
"This year, it's all about unpacking colonisation, the aftermath, and the impact it's still having on Aboriginal people.
"It's extremely political and very controversial as well - we still don't have a treaty and we're one of the few democracies left that don't.
"It's about giving voice to Aboriginal people and allowing them to tell the truth about what colonisation has done for them."
Ms Thornber said young emerging Aboriginal artists were exhibiting for the first time, including Annabelle Widgett.
"Annabelle has photographs of the Koori girls who go to school with her, and basically it's all of the things that have been said to them as Aboriginal girls," she said.
"That's a really amazing, powerful work.
"Ben Taylor is also a young Wiradjrui boy from the Wodonga Flexible Learning Centre, and Jaleah Firebrace is a year 7 student.
"It's really important to engage our young community.
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"We also have more experienced artists like Tamara Murray, Stephen Berger and Treahna Hamm."
The highly-recognisable Girl with a Pearl Earring has been turned into a statement; Ms Thornber has replaced the face of the subject with her own, with the text 'How Aboriginal Is She?'
"I just really wanted to play with very cliche, European paintings, and reflecting the fact you would never see a painting like that of an Aboriginal woman," she said.
"And it also goes to that question of 'How Aboriginal are you?', which is a very relatable one for Aboriginal people who have got more pale skin.
"It causes people to think about how they speak to Aboriginal people, and it's not necessarily racism, it can be that they're misinformed or unaware." Ms Thornber said making people consider the effect of their words was a goal.
"It's important to be honest with yourself, and really think about what colonisation has done for not only Aboriginal people, but everyone, and the impact it's still having," she said.
VOICE.TREATY.TRUTH is showing at the gallery, on Gateway Island, until August 27.
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