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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Coloured Stone from 'Rock Against Racism' concert, Redfern

1980
Juno Gemes

sepia toned strip proof on paper (image: 9 cm x 32 cm)

Formed in 1977 in Koonibba, South Australia by brothers Bunna Lawrie, Neil Coaby and Mackie Coaby and their nephew Bruce Mundy, Coloured Stone combines rock, ska and reggae with a range of Aboriginal instruments including clap sticks and the didgeridoo. Their 1984 album Kooniba Rock saw the band rise to prominence and begin touring extensively throughout the country; they went on to release ten albums. Actively writing, recording and touring from late 1970s, their lyrics speak of issues of racism and discrimination faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The 1984 single 'Black Boy', one of the band's best-known songs, was written in response to the racial tensions experienced by Lawrie as a child. Working with a wide variety of musicians, the line-up changed but Lawrie remained a fixture as the band’s front man and lead vocalist. Coloured Stone continues to perform today.

Juno Gemes captured this series of images of the band on stage at the 1980 Rock Against Racism concert in Redfern. This was a time when Redfern was a melting pot of ideas and creativity for First Nations artists, writers and activists. Performing against the backdrop of the Eureka flag, a symbol of radicalism and protest, the engaging nature of the band and their music leap out of the images.

Gift of the artist 2021. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
© Juno Gemes/Copyright Agency, 2021

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Juno Gemes (age 36 in 1980)

Coloured Stone

Bunna Lawrie

Selwyn Burns

Cee Cee Honey Bee

Subject professions

Performing arts

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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