When first glimpsed from afar in part of the NT Museum and Art Gallery in Darwin it seemed to be an exhibition of Chinese artwork . For example , this framed cameo gave the appearance of a Chinese Willow Pattern. It is , however, nothing so mundane ; it is another striking example of the work by acclaimed artist Dr Danie Mellor in a travelling show , Exotic Lies, Sacred Ties . There is much blue and white in his paintings , inspired by his liking for Spode china , popular in England in the early 1800s. Additionally, he makes use of Swarovski crystals on the borders which adds to the impact.
His mixed media pieces have a mythical quality and depict early Australian settings with animals and Aboriginal tribesmen . Born in Mackay of indigenous and European heritage, he grew up in Scotland, travelled to South Africa and came back to Australia. With an Australian father and American grandfather , his mother is of Irish and Indigenous descent .
After winning the 26th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award in 2009, the babbling, bombastic columnist, Andrew Bolt, who once worked for the ALP and was friendly with a Darwin belly dancer , took issue with him entering the competition and wrote , "This white university lecturer, with his nice Canberra studio, has by winning pushed aside real draw-in-the-dirt Aboriginal artists such as Dorothy Napangardi, Mitjili Napanangka Gibson and Walangkura Napanangka, who had also entered and could really have used that cash and recognition."Bolt later lost a racial discrimination case brought by nine indigenous Australians ( not including Mellor ) over articles that criticised fair skinned indigenous people , including the post which had attacked Mellor .
It has been pointed out that Mellor says he is not concerned with the definition of Aboriginality, but with historical interaction between cultures and the re-imagining of history.