‘Two up’ is an old game played with a coin where players choose either heads or tails. The coin is thrown in the air and the winner is the person who guesses which way it lands. Many Aboriginal people were forced to live in second-rate native reserves as it was illegal for Aboriginal people to be on the streets inside the town limits after 6pm. Although life in tin shanties, tents and humpies was difficult, there is a strong sense of community evident in the enjoyment of a good game with friends.
Primus Ugle, Bibbulmun, Nyoongar people Photograph courtesy Artplace
Primus Ugle paints the specific history of the Nyoongar people in the southwest of Australia. He grew up in a mission and lived in fringe camps on the edge of townships and cities and has personally experienced the restrictive regulations and policies that ruled the lives of Aboriginal people. He and his family travelled widely to follow seasonal work like fruit picking and shearing. Through his paintings he is able to pass on his story to his family so that they know where he comes from and how life for his people has changed since the colonisation of Australia.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra