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Kevin Gilbert-Australian Indigenous Author/Artist - Essay Example

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After this, he sought employment and managed to secure seasonal itinerant jobs (Williams 1998). Gilbert married a European girl at an early age. In 1957, he was sentenced by a court to life imprisonment following a domestic dispute in which he killed his wife. By this time, the couple had two children. Gilbert spent his life in some of the worst Australian jails. Despite the hardships, Gilbert strove to educate himself during the fourteen years he spent in jail. He sharpened his artistic talents and this made him become a prominent poet, printmaker, playwright and photographer. While still in prison, Gilbert wrote a play entitled The Cherry Pickers, a piece that sought to reveal the lives of aboriginal seasonal workers. This was in 1968 although his works were exhibited for the first time in 1970 in Sydney at the Arts Council Gallery. He became the first aboriginal printmaker to be recognized in Australia, and the first aboriginal playwright whose work/play was performed in Australia. In 1971, he was fortunate to receive a parole and was set free after 14 years of imprisonment. After his release, Gilbert had the chance to produce more volumes of books and poetic pieces. Beston (1977, 456) explains that the major themes that featured in Gilbert’s works were the relationship between whites and blacks, and the theme of mixture of black and white parentage. An example of such a piece is the poem entitled Inhabitant of the Third World. This poem highlighted the treatment of half-caste aboriginals. Evidently, such themes resulted from the fact that by blood, Gilbert was just a quarter aboriginal but while growing up, the whites always treated him as if he was pure aboriginal. This disregard of the extent of his aboriginal blood by the European Australians forced Gilbert to live in the aboriginal community located at the edge of town. At the same time, Gilbert was treated by a lot of skepticism by the aborigines and so he was trapped between two worlds of which neither acknowledged him as one of their own. Despite the difference in treatment, he was more acceptable to the aborigines compared to the European Australians. In 1972, Gilbert became instrumental in the building of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. He also became the Chairperson of the Treaty '88 campaign, a protest against European Australians and the dispossession of aborigines as well as their land. The campaign fought very hard to ensure the establishment of a treaty enshrining (get alternative)/ acknowledging the rights of the Aborigines and their sovereignty. In this position, he planned the touring photography exhibition that led to the writing of Inside Black Australia. In 1988, he received the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission's Human Rights Award for Literature as appreciation for his anthology of aboriginal poetry. However, he returned it because the aborigines were still being denied human rights in their land (Williams, 1998). Gilbert died in 1993 after suffering from emphysema for a long time. His social and health impact on both Indigenous and Non Indigenous society. For a long time, there was cultural conflict between the aborigines and the whites. The aborigines were being treated like slaves by some whites (Bird and Davis 1999; Gilbert 1978). Gilbert volunteered to become a voice for the aborigines and their determination to get equal human rights. Through his works, especially poems, Gilbert blatantly voiced his concern for the social issues ...Show more
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Kevin Gilbert-Australian Indigenous Author/Artist Overview of the life and background of Kevin Gilbert Kevin Gilbert was an Australian artist born in Condobolin, New South Wales in 1933. He was born of the Kamilaroi and Wiradjuri peoples. Gilbert was born to an Irish father, his mother half-Aboriginal…
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