Judy Watson, A Preponderance of Aboriginal Blood
a preponderance of aboriginal blood is an artist’s book confronting the history of official and legal discrimination against Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders in Queensland. It was commissioned by the State Library of Queensland in 2005 for the exhibition sufferance: women’s artists’ books to celebrate the centenary of women’s voting rights in Queensland. Its sixteen sheets present copies of electoral enrolment statutes from the Queensland State Archives, which classified whether a person was a ‘full-blood Aborigine’ (and therefore not entitled to vote) or a ‘half-caste’ (entitled to vote). The title, a preponderance of aboriginal blood, refers to Aboriginality on both sides of the family and, at that time, was acceptable legal terminology used to deny Aboriginal people their right to vote. Full voting rights were not granted to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in Queensland until 1965. Watson first heard the term a preponderance of aboriginal blood in a lecture given by Loris Williams and Margaret Reid on voting rights for Indigenous Queensland people in 2005. The lecture compelled her to make the work.