Ghost Citizens: Witnessing the Intervention, Project Contemporary Artspace, Wollongong — 31 October to 11 November 2012


Project Contemporary Artspace, Wollongong


31 October to 11 November 2012

'Ghost Citizens follow us and infiltrate our daily lives. In a continent full of the ghosts and shadows of colonialism, the historical, social, and physical landscape is pitted. Each story is a ghost story loaded with shadows; a kind of "scar" story.' Djon Mundine OAM

Ghost Citizens: Witnessing the Intervention is about the removal of citizen rights by the Federal Government’s 'intervention' in the Northern Territory (2007 to 2012) seen through the witnessing practices of Aboriginal and non-Indigenous artists.

On the night of the opening of the 2012 Sydney Biennale, legislation to extend the N.T. Intervention was passed. The Federal Government’s Bill re-badged the Intervention with the Orwellian title 'Stronger Futures' to extend some of the most controversial elements of the Intervention for the next decade — to any part of the country. In NSW, government 'Income Management' can apply at Bankstown, Fairfield and Lakemba in Sydney and at Toomelah at the discretion of Community Services or Housing Workers. Dignity is trampled underfoot.

The Intervention is very unpopular with few positive results so far. Aboriginal community leaders, who were not initially even consulted, need to be listened to about their particular priorities, ideas and solutions. The challenge is to create an economic basis for these remote communities — to strengthen what works such as the art centres and homelands — and not relocate them off their traditional lands to live as outcast fringe dwellers on the margins of 'growth centres'.

Ghost Citizens looks at the return to protectionist policy and the wilful diminishing of an Indigenous participatory voice, the loss of citizenship rights, of the right to homelands and self-determination.



Djon Mundine and Jo Holder
Wollongong ‘StrongerFuturesStolen’ Campaigners: Brodie Kennelly, Elysee Kadiele, Wafa Whitney, Nik Uzunovski (and unidentified) with Jo Holder

Artists: Fiona Foley, Dan Jones, Vernon Ah Kee, Kylie Kemarre, Fiona MacDonald, Chips Mackinolty, Sally M. Mulda, Amy Napurulla, Brendan Penzer, Deborah Vaughan, Jason Wing

Curators: Djon Mundine OAM and Jo Holder

Presented by TAFE Illawarra Institute and Student Campaigners Raising Awareness about the Northern Territory Intervention and Stronger Futures Legislation initiated by Elysee Kadiele, Brodie Kennelly, Wafa Whitney and Bronwyn Williams with Helen Vickers and Belinda Hawker. Info on the Wollongong ‘StrongerFuturesStolen’ Campaign at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In association with Project Contemporary Art Space at; special thanks to Violetta Strabic and Nik Uzunovski and Coomaditchie United Aboriginal Corporation, Wollongong at; special thanks to artists Lorraine Brown and Narelle Thomas.

More info on campaigns to Stop the Intervention: Respect and Listen campaign at and publications by Concerned Australians at; Stop the Intervention, Sydney (STICS), Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people committed to the repeal of the NT Intervention and the struggle for Aboriginal self-determination at

Listen to Rosalie Kunoth-Monks talking on 21 June 2012 in Fitzroy, Victoria at a A Public Forum on the Northern Territory Intervention into Indigenous communities about the impact of the Intervention on her community (audio) at