d harding / Bidjara/Ghungalu/Garingbal peoples / Australia b.1982 / Unnamed 2009 / Lead and steel wire / Gift of Julie Ewington through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation 2013 / Collection: QAGOMA / © d harding

d harding
Unnamed 2009

Not Currently on Display

d harding’s arresting simulacrum of a nineteenth-century ‘king plate’, is inscribed with the code ‘W38’. King plates were used by colonial authorities to identify those Aboriginal people they recognised as leaders, or appropriate liaisons — as ‘king’, ‘queen’ or ‘prince’. In harding’s case, the plate manifests the codification of their grandmother at Woorabinda Aboriginal Mission. ‘W’ refers to Woorabinda and ‘38’ is the number that was used by mission authorities to identify her — she was reduced to an alphanumeric code on a case file. harding’s rusted cast-iron crescent identification tag imagines Australia’s quite literally buried history. (These gorgets are often found by farmers ploughing fields.) By creating this object, harding has excavated their family’s history and unearthed debates about the systems that classify Indigenous Australians and that still seek to control lives.

d harding is a Brisbane-based artist who is connected to Central Queensland through their birth and childhood in Moranbah, and their ancestral lineage with the Bidjara, Garingbal and Ghungalu peoples.

harding is influenced by the galleries of rock art and natural spaces throughout their grandparent’s countries, which largely fall within Carnarvon National Park in Central Queensland. They are currently a PhD candidate at the Queensland College of Art, where they graduated with honours from the Bachelor of Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art program in 2013.

harding has employed a variety of techniques and mediums to investigate the lived experiences of their family, some of whom were removed from their ancestral country to Woorabinda reserve by the Queensland Government.