Recipient of the 2016 Dr Yunupingu Award for Human Rights

Wow. If you would’ve said to me, when I was 13, that I’d be able to stand up here as a gay man and say that without any fear of retribution – I would’ve like to have heard it then. But to be able to do that today just shows how far we’ve come.

I’d like to thank everybody if I can. The Honorary member for NSW Parliament, Shaoquett Moselmane for hosting such an important event. To the Honorable Dame Marie Bashir for your eloquent keynote address and to the wonderful Natalie Ahmat for her MC skills this evening. Indeed, thank you for the path legends among our people like Dr. Yunupingu; for whom this award is in honour of – and indeed the lovely message this evening from Yalmay Yunupingu, his wife.

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The Redfern Statement: Restating our need for self-determination

The Redfern statement, compiled by a collective of at least 55 Indigenous and Non-Indigenous organisations and peak-bodies has issued a bold challenge to whichever party is elected as Australia’s government come 2 July 2016, “It is time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices are heard and respected, it is time for action”.

Luke Pearson. Sorry, Sorry Day…

These are various questions I have been asked about the whole idea of ‘Sorry” over the years. Some of the answers are what I have said, others what I should have said, and some others I probably shouldn’t have said, but I did; so, you know… sorry about that.

Q. “Why should I be sorry for what my ancestors did?”

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Jade Jones-Cubillo. I didn’t understand how special it was to be Aboriginal until I was 17

Here I am at 20 years old sitting in the backyard on a chair I’ve sat on many times before and contemplated many things throughout my life and find that I have continuously asked myself: “What does it mean to be Aboriginal?”

I’ve grown up in a western setting, right in the heart of Darwin. When I explain my mob I say it’s like saltwater meeting freshwater, I walk in the best of two tribes.

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Katie West. My art is a personal antidote for the effects of colonisation

As I write, my first ever solo exhibition, Decolonist, is underway as part of Australia’s leading festival for emerging contemporary art – Next Wave Festival 2016. This project has been the major focus of my life for the past 18 months and I was lucky enough to also take part in Next Wave’s kickstart program, which offers professional development to emerging artists.

Kickstart challenged us to think about where our practice is situated in the society we operate in. We considered our role as artists in the face of major social and environmental issues, ranging from racism and white privilege to climate change.

Luke Pearson: Blackface and Whitewashing

I sat on this one for a while, not sure whether I could bring myself to write about it one more time, or if there was even anything left to say.

It’s racist.

Kelly Briggs. I Survive

Trigger Warning: This article contains personal stories of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.

My story of ongoing survivorship of mental health issues is not unique. There is no triumphant victory at the end of this article. My personal history which I have chosen to share has no miraculous breakthroughs, no Hollywood ending of a woman having a road to Damascus moment, there is no phoenix rising from the ashes in this intimate account.