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Blak Douglas vs The Commonwealth is a gripping testament to the spirit and transformative power of Blak Douglas’ iconic art to heal and address the injustices of the past.

Before winning the coveted Archibald Prize in 2022, Blak Douglas debuted one of his most emotionally charged works, Domestic Violets, at the National Gallery of Australia’s 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial: Defying Empire in 2017. The work features a portrait of his father’s mother, Clorine Morthem, Dhungatti people, at the centre.

In this documentary, Blak Douglas shares his experiences of tracing his grandmother’s story. Beginning with old family photographs, he follows his grandmother’s life back to the Cootamundra Girls Home, where she became a Ward of the State, stripped of her name, language, family and culture and forced into servitude. At the NSW State Archives, he unearths the harrowing machinations of a system that deliberately fragmented his family.

Artist Blak Douglas tells his story, his way, and his reflections are powerful, brutally honest and disarming, establishing him as one of the most vital voices in the Australian arts landscape.

Presented by Deckchair Cinema in association with Darwin Festival

  • Director Angelica Cristina Dio

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