Vernon Ah Kee remembers Palm Island

The 2004 Palm Island riots are the focus of Vernon Ah Kee's Melbourne Festival work 'Tall Man'.
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In 2004 Palm Island erupted with riots in response to the death in custody of Cameron Doomadgee, the 147th Aboriginal person to die in custody to die in Australia since 1990. In his powerful 4-channel work, Tall Man, Vernon Ah Kee reconstructs the events of the day through a combination of footage from mobile phones and video cameras, much of it filmed by members of the Palm Island police force, which is then edited together with archival news footage.

As one of Australia’s most influential contemporary artists, Vernon Ah Kee wields a diversity of his practice that reflects the complexity of the contemporary Indigenous experience. Consistently under fire in his work is the optimistic rhetoric of ‘multiculturalism’ in post-colonial Australia, and in Tall Man he continues his interrogations into the constructed nature of history, hoping to reveal the truth beyond what’s commonly accepted, as ‘history is always written by the victors.’

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