Sally Harrison's Dot Paintings

Sally Harrison's Dot Paintings

I was born in Victoria in 1949. My mother, crippled with polio, was only 14 when she was raped by a white man. Classed as neglected children we were taken by the Authorities. My mother was exiled hundreds of miles to the north, while I was placed at Bomaderry Mission,100 miles south of Sydney.

I loved learning to become a domestic servant. This Early Childhood Training formed The Bedrock of MY Life, Instilling Honesty, Self Discipline, Self Respect, Self Reliance and Love of Goodness in ME from The Beginning. These were The Virtues I learned to live by. There was No dishonesty, No shirking of responsibilities, No foul language, No Lies and No Double Standards. I could not have had a better start. I Fell From Grace with myself after my adoption, descending from this World of Virtue into a Dark World of Chaos.

My adoptive parents were Children Of A Lesser God or Inchoate, ie: 'Not completely formed or developed yet - only Elementary or Immature'. These Crude adults stripped me of everything I needed to develop normally.

I'm grateful my Early Childhood Training saved me from committing suicide or sinking into the gutter in despair. When I left home, my 'mother' told me I was the hardest @#@# she'd ever known, confirming my feelings that she had knowingly tried to destroy me, because I was a constant reminder of her Perverse Character. Perverse means: 'Persistent or Obstinate in What Is Wrong; Turned Away from What is Right, Good or Proper; Wicked'.

Honesty was The Virtue that Empowered me to withstand the enormous pressures created by the Colonial Attitudes of my Immoral 'Role-Models' and 'Care-Givers', who Besmirched The Values instilled in me from Babyhood. I vowed never to be like them but couldn't escape their influence.

Throughout my adult life, I've struggled to understand how my head works after abruptly being cut off from my Natural Self as a left-handed aboriginal named Sally Harrison and forced to assume a False Identity that demanded I Be Less than what I was. Words cannot express the Chaos created by this Disfigurement of my self-image and enforced use of my right hand. It Split my personality into an Inchoate White 'persona' and an Ignorant 'Sub-Human' Aboriginal Child; a Crude Mockery of what I was, created by the Illusions and Ignorance that surrounded me. It left me emotionally shattered, mentally blinded and totally confused by the contradictions that Pervade White Society.

In 1992 I travelled from Queensland to Western Australia where I took up dot painting, learning to come to terms with my life as a person of two cultures, with No Place in either.

Experience has taught me that painting mirrors life and you face exactly the same challenges. Mental Discipline, Honesty and Silent Observation are The Key to Creating Order and Simplicity from The Chaos and Complexity of Detail. That is why Art is called a Discipline. It allows you to do your own Myth Busting and Escape from Deluded Social Conditioning into your Right Mind or Sub-Conscious; what The Ancients called 'The Recording Angel'; Your Better Self that Judges You - rewarding or punishing you for your Actions or Inaction.

Thus I've learnt that I am independent of what I was conditioned to Believe by my 'betters'. I've come Home to myself by using Art as The Key to unlock the door of this prison called my 'mind'; my False 'Persona' - the Artificial Creation of my Proud Superiors 'Blinded By The Light' of 'knowledge'. Persona is Latin for 'Mask', meaning an Actor portraying a Character in a Play or Drama (Scripted for the Entertainment of The People) which taught me the true meaning of Humility.

Christianity Preaches that 'You Can't Make A Silk Purse Out of A Sow's Ear'. This Truth Inspired me to Return to The Order and Simplicity of what I Knew In The Beginning; to Reject All that I 'learnt' in The Past, Re-Educate Myself and Resurrect Everything I Know is Good in ME for the benefit of MY Mental Health and Physical Well-Being.

Indigenous Themes and Stories


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Urban Landscapes