Healing Ground

The frontier wars in Australia is an important subject for both Indigenous and non-
Indigenous people. Acknowledging the many massacres of Aboriginal people is a cultural
imperative I recognises and act upon. This material is no doubt extremely sensitive to
many Aboriginal people, and questions arise around my right to be present it. This is
where the project can hold its tension, and ethic. I am not telling these narratives on behalf
of Aboriginal people, rather Aboriginal people are telling their stories, which I record both
audibly and through powerful images.

My project presents the pain and hope that remains in the people and upon the land, and it refers to an unease and awkwardness very much
part of the broader cultural consciousness, an unease and awkwardness that exists, in part, because these stories have been swept under the nation’s rugs for generations.

So Healing Ground is essentially a project which concerns grief. Both black and white. The grief held by Aboriginal people due to settler-state-religious violence, the subsequent loss and ill-treatment of loved ones, and the incursion upon Aboriginal cultures and lands. Then there’s the grief and shame of non-Indigenous peoples, those who acknowledge the revisionist history that the nation stands upon.

In this way Healing Ground is involved in making white shame productive, which requires the ongoing participation, mentorship and eldership of Aboriginal people. This cannot be an extractive or individuated process. The solo artist-as-hero pathology, indelibly endemic in western art careerism, is unwarranted within the philosophical and ethical scope of this project.

Currently on display at BIFB 23 are the images, audio and transcripts from Myall Creek, Warmun and Convincing Ground :