Now, having completed the hugely beautiful and successful debut event of Creation’s Calling (creationscalling.org), with one week left for my debut exhibition, I have officially begun a new and overwhelmingly inspiring project… "The Spirit of Oz”.
Wulgunggo Ngalu is an offshoot initiative of the Department of Justice. Whilst indigenous Australia make up only 3% of the total population, they account for 30% of the prison population, an ongoing disproportionate representation that lead to the Royal Commissions enquiry into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991, a fact that continues to present disturbing revelations into Australia’s ‘first nation' situation. Today, the issues of the past reverberate into the new generations being born. At Wulgunggo Ngalu Learning Place I met seven young ‘Koori' men from lands all over Victoria. Ranging from 20 -31 years old, each had at least 2 children, most were married, some had been there before and some were there for the first time. There convictions ranged from car theft, to supply, to domestic violence and each one battled with some form of addiction, either to ice, alcohol or marijuana. Simultaneously, these seven men had big beautiful open hearts, were respectful, committed to their recovery in varying degrees, and willing to talk about their lives with me - a white jewish artist they had only just met. Their stories were explicitly connected to their largely unspoken genocidal history here in Australia. Most of them did not know much about the worlds that their ancestors came from, their parents had avoided those kind of conversations, and they expressed feeling embarrassment growing up as indigenous kids. “It wasn’t cool” Pauly explained.
Each one had been given the opportunity to come to Wulgunggo Ngalu to heal and reconnect to themselves to the land and their cultures, and find space to integrate their new learnings into a new life. As I listened to Shaun Braybook, the manager of Wulgunggo Ngalu, describe the intention and focus of this magical residence, forgiveness and self love jumped out as the qualities that necessitated change and transcendence - and 70% of these men succeeded to transform their lives through the facilitated process offered by Wulgunggo Ngalu. This supportive journey, however, lay in contrast to the very real issues of life outside in the world of family, history and mainstream attitudes… Whilst the men were inside healing, the women were alone in the homes with many kids to look after, addictions of partners and parents remained and workplaces maintain a right to refuse criminal history in work placement. The obstacles are huge and the individual’s ability to go beyond the odds requires the highest level of will and determination.
Ready to dive into the Spirit of Oz, my vision has become rather gigantic…
Though the initial vision was painting First Nation Australians into their lands all over Australia, I now understand that this project within a project is the “carriage" for creation, and only one aspect of expression that will make up a Festival called “The Spirit of Oz” , an opportunity for us to connect and reconnect to each other and the earth, the history and the future, through creativity and collaboration. A true celebration of today’s people here in Australia and quite possibly an annual gathering of the tribes of all colours, a collaborative gestation and rebirthing of Australian culture, remembering who we are and our connection to the earth in the name of a sustainable, loving, compassionate and all encompassing magical future. I am officially inviting all interest, especially from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to get involved and join me on an adventure of a lifetime - rather than fight the world that is, lets create the world we want...
Many roles available including social media, accounts, PR, promotions manager, creative inclusions.
More info coming soon - interested should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org