Douglas Watkin’s animated virtual reality (VR) work, A Thin Black Line, 2017, tells the story of a young Indigenous girl who is evacuated from Darwin during the Second World War. The film spans the period of the Japanese air raids in February 1942, when significantly more ordinance was dropped on Darwin than in the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor two months earlier (a fact surprisingly still little known among Australians and non-Australians alike). Based on the actual experience of the artist’s mother, Patricia Watkin, the narrative commences in the family’s suburban backyard and follows them through their separation, evacuation by boat, experience of the bombing, and eventual reunion in Cairns.

Ryan Johnston

The artist gratefully acknowledges here