2022 - Highly commended
In this groundbreaking work of Indigenous scholarship, nationally renowned visual artist Fiona Foley addresses the inherent silences, errors and injustices from the perspective of her people, the Badtjala of K’gari (Fraser Island). She shines a critical light on the little-known colonial-era practice of paying Indigenous workers in opium and the ‘solution’ of then displacing them to K’gari.
Biting the Clouds – a euphemism for being stoned on opium – combines historical, personal and cultural imagery to reclaim the Badtjala story from the colonisation narrative. Full-colour images of Foley’s artwork add further impact to this important examination of Australian history.