Portraits by Therese Ritchie, Northern Centre for Contemporary Art, Vimy Lane, Parap 28th September through 7 October 2017. Presented by the Darwin Pride Festival.
How the portraits came about is simple, but its alchemy is difficult to explain. Overall it involves listening to each subject as they talk about aspects of their sexuality. Usually by the end of the conversation, we will have collated a list of relevant words and phrases. It is not a chronological list but definitely an elegant description of a life. There is always one word or phrase that resonates very deeply with the subject and that is what they take to the next level through merging the words with the physical form—in this case their bodies.
"If the take the mangroves, we Saltwater People will have nothing left of our traditional way of life which has been handed down to us by our old people," Joy White, Public Officer, Bagot community, Darwin.
After 150 years of white development it’s time for environmental justice in the southwest Gulf, for fair treatment and meaningful involvement of Aboriginal people with respect to development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies in their ancestral lands. The goal must be a fair distribution of the environmental benefits and costs.
I want the government and mining companies to know that we are still here. We aren’t going anywhere. We aren’t dead yet. We are still here, feeling the country. Jacky Green, Darwin, August 2017
The Darwin Festival has failed local visual artists. Spending money on a roving class of interstate creatives and acts is capital that gets drained out of the local culture making economy. There is no substantial quota for local engagement, there is no compulsion that local creatives get engaged and employed. The current festival model fails to connect with and engage the local culture makers. Even the influx of DF production crew in August are like carnies - here for the month then off again to fleece another community with their generic arts festival business model.
The next time Pauline Hanson says “I speak for the people of Australia,” remember this: she will steal your integrity, roll you until you choke on your own terror, and if she can’t swallow you whole, she will drag you down and stash you in a dark forgotten place until you rot, simply because she prefers to feed on putrefied flesh.
20 years ago not everyone supported our approach of using humour and satire: I would hardly claim to have a monopoly on a “correct” response to the viciousness of racism. However, Therese and I did not sit on our hands: nor should the current arts community.
Blacks in the back, cunts in the front and the response to it, is emblematic of how non-indigenous Australia embraces and yet looks away from aboriginal people at the same time. This ruptured thinking process is the stringy bond with our earlier task of occupying, claiming and settling Australia, in particular the ‘wilderness consciousness’ that in its day encouraged mate-ship, an easy going attitude, and above all, manners (you could not swear at the dinner table or in front of your mother) whilst allowing rape and killing to be seen as pragmatic.
Based on ANZDATA Registry analysis, from 1999 to 2009, the number of people receiving renal replacement therapy—dialysis—from Central Australia more than tripled from 62 to 209. At present, there are some 558 Territorians undergoing dialysis—98% of whom are Aboriginal. Current estimates are that this will grow by 4.5% a year. In simple terms, and all other things being equal, this means over 1,000 Territorian and tri-state Aboriginal people will be “on the machine” in the Territory in 14 years. In Central Australia alone, at worst case by 2020, there will be 479 people under going dialysis.