Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this exhibition contains images and names of deceased persons.
Without stories there is silence.
Without stories told, we are voiceless.
Without our stories heard , we are invisible.
This is very hard, when the stories are hard to hear,
difficult to see and impossible to imagine.
Unfinished Business reveals the visual stories of 30 Indigenous Australian’s with disabilities, by photographer Belinda Mason and film makers Knierim Brothers.
Belinda Mason’s photographs present some of the untold stories, which are part of the social and cultural fabric of Western Australia, and the nation.
“Every story is complex and intertwined with Australia’s political and social history, which has resulted in today’s unacceptably high rates of disability in Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities….Through their involvement in the project each participant draws much-needed attention to critical issues that impact on their lives. Participants of the exhibition live with a wide range of disability experiences – acquired, congenital, sensory, psychological, intellectual, visible and invisible.”- Belinda Mason
The exhibition includes a number of photographs of individuals from Western Australian regional areas including Mowanjum, Geraldton, and Carnarvon.
One of the West Australian’s featured is June Oscar, a woman of Bunuba descent. June Oscar is the Grandmother of Hudson who has Feotal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
The Matriarch, June Oscar. Photograph by Belinda Mason.
“I am the Grandmother of Hudson. It was not right that our little children were growing up in this environment who are living their lives with unique and complex needs as a result of alcohol exposure in utero. So in 2007 the women got together and made a strong and final decision that we would apply for alcohol restrictions in our community. We want our people to know that, this is their community, that this community cares about them and that we are prepared to make the hard decisions and stand up”
Accessibility is at the heart of this exhibition. People with sensory, cognitive and learning impairments are able to engage with the exhibition through OpenAcessTours a mobile app available for apple and android devices.
The power of this exhibition lies in its ability to evoke empathy, as Mason explains,
“We cannot argue when someone says ‘I feel…’ – it is not our right. It is part of our own journey to learn empathy rather than compassion. Our reaction exposes us to to ourselves, and reminds us that we all need the ability to listen when someone lays their soul naked in our path”.
The Hanging Tree, Gary Umbagai. Photograph by Belinda Mason
Unfinished Business is on display at the State Library until 3 June 2016. For more information visit our website.
- Copies of the book of the same name can be purchased from the State Library Shop
- Parental guidance is advised for young children visiting the exhibition
- The State Library is a wheelchair accessible venue