The objects comprising the White Collared series are imagined artefacts informed by stories told by the artist’s family, community and documented in written histories. Harding’s work recalls the absolute power and control held over the lives of Aboriginal girls and women at Woorabinda and in many similar missions in other parts of Queensland and Australia. The collars resemble those worn by Aboriginal women and girls in the Taroom settlement west of Rockhampton. This work has particular resonance with Bundoora Homestead (being of the Queen Victorian style) and these works reference the ways Indigenous people were forced to wear collars with Victorian lace features. The lace features were thought to match the tenor and imagined propriety of the European houses that many women servants served in.
Dale Harding is a descendant of the Bidjara, Ghungalu and Garingbal peoples of Central Queensland. He grew up in the Central Queensland town of Moranbah. Harding graduated with honours from a Bachelor of Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art at the Queensland College of Art. He has since gone to win over art critics and fans alike with his creative fusion of traditional craft forms and political and cultural themes. Harding has gained recognition for works that investigate the social and political realities experienced by members of his family, who lived under government control in Queensland around 1930.