My name is Bjorn Stewart, I am a Kuku-Yalanji/Wemba Wemba man. I don’t know much about my Wemba Wemba family, only a few family members. My grandmother ran away from home in Victoria to Sydney when she was pregnant with my mother at age 15. My father’s side, Kuku-Yalanji mob, I know too much about. They are all cracked.
My trade is acting, directing and writing for theatre, television and film. I was in a play earlier this year called Coranderrk with Jack Charles, Kelton Pell and a great ensemble of actors. Later on Leah Purcell directed me in Jada Alberts’ play Brothers Wreck. On telly my award-winning performance on Redfern Now swung the vote and helped Blackfella Films and ABC clean up at the Deadlys and Logies (Maybe a slight exaggeration on my part).
Now I am currently on Black Comedy 9.30pm Weds on ABC1.
I plan on shamelessly plugging ABC’s Black Comedy 9.30pm Weds on ABC1 whenever I can. But other than that I plan on talking about comedy, arts, and good coffee spots, and did I mention Black Comedy on ABC1?
Most of my role models are women. My mother raised four children on her own, including me. She made sure we were loved and told us not to be afraid to follow our dreams. Her resilience, strength and unconditional love have made me the man I am today.
Leah Purcell would have to be a big role model of mine as well. She is one of the best directors I have worked with. She has been my mentor and demands a standard that constantly pushes me further as an actor and director.
I’m passionate about Black Comedy on ABC1 (Ok I’ll stop plugging it). Seriously though I am interested in redefining identity. Not only about genders, sexuality, colour of skin and how that all fits into the modern world but also breaking stereotypes and expectations inside and outside our communities. I feel identity is a process that everyone must go through, and ‘acceptance’ is key in resolving issues.
My hope is to see colour-blind casting in Australian television and films. I want to see a real representation of the country I live in, not the one white stuffy suits want us to see. When I go to the doctors, a female Muslim doctor checks me. She doesn’t have any political agenda, she doesn’t mention she is a woman or a Muslim. She is just an Australian citizen doing a job. Why can’t I see that on my television?
I want to see characters defined by the stories they tell, not by the stories their skin colour tells to the mainstream.