I am fascinated by the small stands people take against the things that trouble them, especially when they stage a stunt in the public eye. I am a strong believer that cultural shifts come through incremental changes. One day I would like to publish a book of photos of people around the world making small stands and staging their own mini revolutions! If you have any ideas for your own rebellious act I would love to talk to you about it…
What an amazing mini glimpse into island life in the beautiful Torres Strait, and to be immersed in the ghost net sculptures of the Erub Arts Collaborative. Island life has its own rhythm and pace and is intimately connected with the ocean and the land. Spending time filming the artists on Erub Island was a reminder that we can all play a role in protecting our little pocket and the places we live.
‘We are all connected by the world’s oceans’
Florence Gutcheon, Erub Island artist.
In June this years I was privileged to visit Yirkalla community in Arnhem Land to do some filming for the Tarnanthi arts festival. Walking into the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre in Yirkalla is breathtaking. A remote and proud community surrounded by Top End termite mounds, pandanus, forest fires and croc filled water holes, the arts centre is an inspired explosion of bark art, ochres and burial poles. Yirkalla is home to the original bark painting presented to Parliament to begin the first land title claim in Australia. An inspiring location to be filming elder and acclaimed artist, Nawurapu Wunungmurra as he passed on his knowledge of carving Mukoy (spirits) to his grandson.
Travelling with BKFA in Uganda we met the most incredible role model, Mama Cecilia, a powerhouse in her own right, mother and grandmother of many, and long time activist for women’s rights. Mama Cecilia started Teso Women’s Peace Activists in her own home district in regional Uganda. She has fought for land rights for women, and the right for women to have safe births and to be free from domestic violence. Droughts have recently impacted the area, and Mama Cecilia’s team continue, with the resources they can pull together, to travel to remote areas reminding women to speak up about their rights in the most challenging of environments. I am reminded of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s belief: “Stories can be used to empower and humanise. Stories can repair broken dignity”. I am hoping one day I can return and spend more time exploring more of what Mama Cecilia and TEWPA do.
“We have given the women the sense
to demand what is rightly theirs”.