Taming the Savages
Original Oil Painting on Canvas
By Helen Norton
76 x 61 cm1991 Pidgeon Series (Jandamarra)
The naturally intelligent and wily young Pidgeon appeared to become 'domesticated' quite quickly as a boy on Lennnard River Station. My view was that he loved to learn, and did not care about the cultural issues as much as the opportunities and access to discover he could obtain by complying. I can relate to this in my own early life. Cooperation for the sake of sating curiosity need not be mistaken for obedience. I know in my own character - collaboration is only the wheels under the more important thirst which is to obtain knowledge. The simple view might be - learning from life, positive or negative, there is no judgment on that at the time, only being in the present. Judgment comes later. The 'source' of the learning (e.g the white men in Pidgeons case) can as quickly be abandoned once some greater value is identified and a new path chosen using that information. Not unlike what Edward Snowden chose! This painting depicts the then white man's strange obsession or challenge to tame or capture everything that roams free and Pidgeon's willingness to learn the new things.