Gordon Hookey’s King hit (for Queen and Country) 1999 is a provocative work that intimates action. The work consists of a boxing bag painted with porcine depictions of John Howard, Pauline Hanson and David Oldfield who hold their boxing gloves raised at the viewer ready for a fight. Below the bag is set of boxing gloves with the Australian Indigenous flag painted on to them. As Julie Ewington points out in her essay in the ‘Sculpture is Everything’ exhibition catalogue:
If one is Aboriginal, the implied invitation might be irresistible — a licensed expression of grievance — but if one is not, the proposition is radically challenging: where does one stand?
King hit (for Queen and Country) both references a very specific moment in Australia’s history and has a broader resonance. Peter McKay (Curator, Contemporary Australian Art) recently spoke with the Gordon Hookey about climate in which it was made and the power of making political objects.
Ellie Buttrose is Assistant Curator, Contemporary International Art and Peter McKay is Curator, Contemporary Australian Art at QAGOMA.