NGARANGANI* : The Dreamtime
During my 6 months in Australia, I will visit the cities and communities that are threatened with closure. I will make portraits, testimonies, photos and videos of people in order to understand the current relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Australian Aboriginal culture is built on the memory of life's origins during the Ngarangani* mythical era. Ngarangani* is a sort of parallel space-time to our profane time, a timeless space where present, past and future merge. All forms/ways of creation from insects to stars through humans are conscious to have a part of the primitive force and every one in his own way reflects a form of this force. Aboriginal people belong to the earth and to their ancestors. They are brothers to the animals and the plants. Every disruption of one of these components puts the group at chaos' risk (that should to curb prying their Ancestors. = pas clair)
These life rules constitute what Aboriginals consider as their most valuable asset: The Dreaming.
It unifies the world vision. The Human, endowed with consciousness has to respect the world as a masterpiece built with origins' myth. That is why the taming of animals and plants, as any modification brought of course is paradoxical of Aboriginal thought.
My director's assistant and I are going travelling for 6 months in Western Australia, Queensland and Northern Territory. These six months of immersion will allow us to get to know the Aboriginal people and their communities in order to obtain true and profound testimonies. These videos are going to be accompanied by photograph portraits.
People who confide to the camera will enable us to:
- Learn about Aboriginal way of life, culture and beliefs
- Understand relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians
- Discuss the intergenerational trauma that many Aboriginal people bear from Australia’s recent history and colonization
- Understand the difficulty to assimilate to Australian social systems while maintaining Aboriginal cultural values
- Look at the issue of community closure and its perceived impacts on the well-being of Aboriginal people
- Understand the complexity of being Aboriginal and part of Australian society
- Talk to Aboriginal people about the "Stolen Generation"
Development axes of the documentary:
- Giving Voice to Indigenous people in Australia
- Hear non-Indigenous Australians point of view
- Understand Aboriginal culture and draw a parallel with the failure of previous integration policy
- To challenge contemporary negative views of Aboriginal Australia
- Report the current policies that impact Aboriginal people, particularly the closure of remote communities and the ongoing attempts to disrupt of people’s connection to country
- Report the underlying economic reason for these closures including the exploitation of mineral resources
- Show the parallel between the beliefs and lifestyle of Indigenous Australians (which leaves an important place in respect of the land, the land of their ancestors and their custodial responsibilities) and the growing awareness of Western people in search of a way of life more authentic and less dependent to contemporary society’s materialistic values
Plane Departure on the 27th of August 2015 and the return is planned for the 28th of February 2016!
"Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian Portraits" Exhibition
On my return,I will make large print formats photos, Portraits of the Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians interviewed, and each photo portrait will be accompanied by their testimony in front of the camera.
A first exhibition of these portraits and video testimonies will be organized at L'OISEAU ART GALLERY
25 Rue Beautreillis, 75004 Paris
Documentary film "Ngarangani: The Dreaming"
Then I will make a documentary including the testimonies I have collected. A preview will be organized. I will be supported by Ristretto Production Society for the video editing and the post production.
You will be the privileged guests of those events!
MY FIRST EXPERIENCE IN AUSTRALIA
The first time for me in Australia was in 2009. My plane landed in Perth, the capital of Western Australia's state. I was there to work, to learn English and discover this country at the other end of the globe. Perth is one of the most isolated big cities (more than 1m inhabitants) in the world. The landscape, nature and animals are amazing! Sunrises and sunsets are lovely. The immensity of the land, the sky and stars are as far as the eyes can see.
At first, this country seems to be a paradise far from conflicts and threats. And yet, as soon as I arrived, I felt something was wrong walking down the streets of Perth. The story of this land and the colonization of this country has left behind painful injuries that are still present today. The first non-Indigenous Australians I met suggest to me to be careful with Aboriginal people I meet in the cities. They advise me to "never look them in the eyes." They told me they were dangerous and violent. I was surprised!
Later, I would hear some people say "Aborigines have an additive bone behind their head, they are not exactly like us, not completely human..." I was shocked! I absolutely did not expect such a social climate! A climate so tense between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Then I discovered museums and Aboriginal arts and finally, during a tour, I spoke with an Australian Aboriginal for the first time. He explained the Aboriginal culture to us, their way of life, their beliefs and traditional customs. Once again, I was speechless: there is at times a hostile climate between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians however the Australian government promotes all over the world the Aboriginal arts and culture as national pride.
This first trip in Australia triggered my interest: I have to come back here to realize my own project to show and understand this uncomfortable feeling is still alive in many places in the country between the non-Indigenous Australians and Aboriginal people 245 years after the colonization.
- Why does it continue to be difficult for many Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to coexist peacefully?
- Why doesn’t the Australian government try to integrate a biggest part of Aboriginal system and culture in the organization of the country?
- Why is there difficulty for many to find compromise or cooperation between these two cultures?
- Why do some non-Indigenous Australians still speak very badly about Aboriginal people?
- Why is the rate of alcoholism, suicide, incarceration and deaths in jail higher for Aboriginal people than the rates for non-Indigenous Australians?
- Why is the government planning to close communities and force Aboriginal people to leave their land, their home?
Some Aboriginal communities are struggling every day to preserve their land, their culture and their traditions, passing them on to their descendants ...Many of these communities are directly threatened with closure.
Some Aboriginal people have rarely left their community. They live in accordance with their traditions and beliefs. But for how long?
Aboriginal people may be forced to leave their communities to live in cities when communities close. While this could be by choice or obligation, many would prefer to stay in their communities, living on their country, as custodians of the land. Some are struggling to find their bearings in a society they do not recognize, and sometimes find themselves on the street, on the margins of Australian society.
Some Aboriginal people have taken advantage of their culture to work in tourism. Numerous excursions invite tourists to spend one or more days with Aboriginal guides to discover the culture and Indigenous traditional activities (painting, hunting, fishing, fire, didgeridoo, boomerang ... )
The percentages of incarceration and deaths in prison are much higher among Indigenous compared to non-Indigenous Australians.
Between the late 19th century and the years 1960-1970, tens of thousands of half-cast Aboriginal mestizo children (born from an Indigenous and non-Indigenous parent) were torn from their mothers and placed in missions, orphanages, assignments or with host families . These "stolen generations " have grown up with a loss of connection to family, community and culture, an often traumatic period that impacted the development of their individual identity.
"Assimilation is the goal until all Aborigines live like any white Australian" said in 1937 the Commonwealth Conference.
- In 1770, James Cook takes possession of the Australian territory in the name of the British Crown which proclaims this terra nullius, without master (principle abolished in 1992).
- The marginalization and discrimination of Aboriginal people continues in many places today.
- In the 20th century, the "widespread massacres" and enslavement give way to another dark episode in Australian history, “the stolen generations". Between 1901 and 1969 "ordered by the government" tens of thousands of mixed race Aboriginal children were taken from their mothers and placed in missions, orphanages, assignments or with host families. "Assimilation is the goal until all Aborigines live like any white Australian" said in 1937 the Commonwealth Conference on the situation of Aborigines.
- On 13th February 2008, the Australian Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a speech in Canberra parliament to "remove a great stain from the soul of the nation" “We ask forgiveness for harm to the dignity and humiliation imposed on a proud people and a proud culture." This was an important step for the Aboriginal community.
- In November 2010, the First Minister, Julia Gillard, called for the holding of a national referendum to introduce a paragraph on Aboriginal recognition in the Constitution. This would include the deletion of the articles 25 and 51 justifying segregation. At the same time it announces a law recognizing indigenous peoples and the need to promote their welfare (Act of Recognition).
- In 2012, the Government changes its speech. The referendum is postponed: "we have to admit for the moment there is no support for a change in the Constitution" a way to say the non-Indigenous Australian population's opinion isn't ready.
- In March 2015, the Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the WA Premier Colin Barnett announces the forced closure of more than 150 reserves in Western Australia for economic reasons.
The feeling of a colonial "superiority" with its procession of harassment and persecution has not quite disappeared for many Australians...
* One of several hundred terms for the "Dreaming"