There's no denying that Google made a statement with their choice of Google Doodles for Australia Day yesterday. The image beautifully depicted the heartbreaking reality of what most Indigenous Australians call 'Invasion Day', showing a mother and her children who were taken away as part of the Stolen Generation. But there's more to the story than this.
The image was chosen for Google's homepage as part of the annual Doodle 4 Google competition, giving schoolkids the chance to get their artwork displayed on the most viewed webpage on the internet. For the past two years, high school and primary school childrens' artworks have dominated the Google Australia homepage on Australia day, but this year's winner was more relevant than ever.
The theme given to potential Google Doodlers was "if I could travel back in time I would..." with the winner Ineka Voigt from Canberra High School in the ACT answering: "I would reunite mother and child. A weeping mother sits in an ochre desert, dreaming of her children and a life that never was ...all that remains is red sand, tears and the whispers of her stolen dreamtime."
This message has been resoundingly supported by Google, with their official statement:
Judges this year included leading artist Bronwyn Bancroft and ARTEXPRESS curator Leeanne Carr, who along with Google’s other judges agreed that Ineka’s tremendous art work deserved pride of place on the Google homepage. It’s a powerful and beautiful image that is not only a brilliant artwork, but helps bring attention to the critical issue of reconciliation in Australia. We’re proud to have it on our homepage today.
Past Australia Day images have tended to depict the usual patriotism and cliched imagery, but this year reflects a larger movement by Australians to #ChangeTheDate of Australia Day to a day that both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians can celebrate together.