Borderlands e-journal logo All issues all issues Guidelines rollover Guidelines for contributors
Debates rollover About rollover About borderlands e-journal
Reviews Reviews rollover Editorial team rollover Editorial team
terraism Arrow vol 5 no 1 contents
About borderlands volume 5 number 1, 2006


Terrorism and Terraism

Gordon Hookey
Waanyi Artist, Cloncurry, Queensland


1. English is my second language, I don't know my first; because colonialism stole it from me. With horrific brutality and atrocious violence, the english took my culture and replaced it with theirs, without my consent or choice. Therefore, I have an open license to utilise their imposed language and culture any way I want, with unrestrained imagination and absolute freedom within my art practice. My creativity is visual poetry.  I try to observe the world objectively and honestly by paraphrasing and analogising in making pictorial metaphors to what I see.   I like to think I have a strong sense of what is right and wrong in the pursuit of truth and clarity for expressions of humanity.

2. Colonialism is terrorism, and it does not stop. To Indigenous peoples, the manifestations of this horrifically violent brutality is hereditary, passed on from one generation to the next. For the perpetrators the manifestations are the opposite. Most non-Aboriginal Australians are the direct beneficiaries of the horrific, brutal, violent, atrocious terrorist acts committed by their forebears on my Aboriginal ancestors. The status quo is perpetuated by subsequent government policy and racist attitudes.

3. If there is a group or peoples who have due cause to execute horrible, terrible terrorist acts on the Australian government, it is the Indigenous nations of Australia. However, it is not within our Aboriginal cultural and spiritual integrity to harbour collective hate or indifference to dehumanise in order to inflict destruction, pain and suffering. The humanity within the Aboriginal psyche and world-view resides in empathy and kinship with everything. Or as Charlie Pride romanticised it: 'We love to live and live to love'.

4. In 2005, the United Nations tried to define terrorism. They could not, as all the major world powers would be indicted. As it stands with mass media, the USA and cronies hold the power of the word and the terms of reference that abstractly determines who are Terrorist. Yet, they do the same acts and worse to that which had been done to them.

5. I have coined a term 'Terraism' (taken from terra nullius) to push an Aboriginal agenda in the debate in regards to our continual fight for our lands. 'Terraism' is also an attempt to disarm the hypocrisy of the governmental finger pointers. Noam Chomsky says, the only way to stop terrorism is not to participate in it. Aboriginal rights are the last thing to be considered when it comes to mammonic regimes and multi-national investments on our land. The Australian government is still under England's influence and embraces capitalist imperialist ideologies of the United States of America. Australia is not a country or a federation, it's a multinational corporation. This government and its people are so blind with greed, they cannot see how their present actions destructively impacts on lands which we hold in trust for generations to come. Agriculture, mining, pastoralism, primary industry, jobs and money are weak excuses when it comes to the kind of destruction it causes. They're killing our lands, they're still killing our people.


The images below are all between 100-1000 kb in size. They will take a substantial amount of time to download on slow connections.

1. sacred nation, scared nation, indoctrination

2 pieces of a triptych, oil on canvas, 2005, 2x 4m

2. babar the elephant, johnny the sycophant

oil on canvas, 2001, 1600x1600cm

3. very very friendly fire

oil on canvas, 2004, 100x75cm

4. paranoia annoy ya

biennale of sydney installation, multi-media, 2004

5. alarmed but not alert

oil on canvas, 2003, 90x40 cm

6. day of wreck con in

oil on canvas, 2006, 80x45 cm

7. you can't have our spirituality without our political reality

oil on canvas, 2002, 75x 50 cm

8. ruddock's wheel

panel 7 & 8 of 16 panels, 2001, 50x25cm

9. terra-ists

oil on canvas, 2001, 1600x1600cm

**For more information about Gordon Hookey, his prolific artistic career, and his artwork, please visit The artist may be contacted through the gallery.

Do not reproduce any of the above artwork without written permission from the author.

Artist Biography and Statement

Gordon Hookey was born in Cloncurry Queensland in 1961 and belongs to the Waanyi people.   Hookey joined the Boomalli Aboriginal Artists'Co-operative in 1992. He has a BA (Fine Arts) from the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales.   Commenting on terraism and terrorism, he states: 'Things are not what they seem and should be visualized from all directions in order to enhance clarity'. Of his art, Hookey says:

'My art-making is located on the interface where Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultures converge.   A lot of concerns and issues still have to be addressed.   There is no real accountability for the injustices on Aboriginal rights. My art comes from the passion I feel with my country and my people.   Sadly, it also reflects my frustration coming from the spiritless, small-minded people that ultimately hold power over our land and our lives.'

Images © Gordon Hookey 2006

Text © borderlands ejournal 2006



To top of page to top of page spacer
ISSN 1447-0810