Stories of Belonging
Ever wondered who you really are? Where’s your mob from? Where are your roots? Where do you belong? Hear, see, and feel embodied stories of ancestry and place. Black and white Australian women artivists together provoke resonant and entangled understandings of belonging and displacement through storied artworks, performances and installations.
Artworks created by six artist/researchers that trouble belonging in the colonial nation Australia are brought to life through performed storying.
Artist/researchers: Tracey Bunda (Ngugi and Wakka Wakka woman), Ngioka Bunda-Heath (Ngugi, Wakka Wakka and Birupi woman), Anjelena Parfitt (Eastern Arrernte woman), Robyn Heckenberg (Wiradjuri woman), Ali Black, Lexi Lasczik, Louise Phillips, Kim Snepvangers.
An awakening piece which sparks thought and concern on ones own identity, cultural challenges and triumphs, ’Stories of belonging’, as the name states itself, takes its audience through the cultural experiences of 6 artists/scholars from different backgrounds. Each story was different, yet there was an evident linking theme: the exploration of each persons identity and journey, to what brings them to this place in time. There were insightful stories of the Stolen Generation, to immigration, to loss of language and loss of stories passed down from family member to family member.
Stories of Belonging’ was a comfortable, engaging and intimate space where conversation was encouraged and stories could be told freely. It was an eye-opening performance which captivated it’s audience, leaving them feeling grateful to participate.The audience was asked to not clap, yet to express respect through silent acknowledgement and a Q&A sequence at the finale of the piece. This was an appropriate approach and added to the ambience and overall viewing experience. Expressive art related to each 6 individuals’ story of belonging was visible and presented throughout the show. A sewn dress, apron, paintings, embellishments, baskets, poems and song to name a few.
The journey and topic of ‘belonging’ is diverse to each individual, yet holds the same underlying value to everyone. To know the stories of family past and present is a blessing, and the struggles leave us feeling humble and hungry to spread awareness, or to take advantage of the freedom and choices we have today as result. ‘Stories on belonging’ subconsciously leaves it’s audience feeling this gratitude.An evoking performance and experience of story exchange, the most powerful tool for healing in the modern world.
I LOVE the intimacy of this collection, grand daughters touching their heritage, calling back to grandmothers, grandfathers, recounting journeys home. The personal props, the aprons and sheet music and newspaper articles etc also make these stories come to life – the power of physical artifices – they seem to be able to create such a sense of presence – so empty without voices, so rich with handling.
Bronwin Patrickson, Digital Humanities Researcher
Am blown away. So much to think upon and stir with and weep over. Bowing to you and all. ❤🙏🏻❤ “Belonging” is something that I feel eludes me in some visceral way … and I can understand in my bones why people lost in the bush are often found naked.
Louise Simmons, Dramatist & Yoga Guide
A rather novel marriage
I will never forget Etch-Stitch and through you, grasping, feeling, sensing, imagining – recognising and honouring the story of your Great-great-grandmother. How amazed and how proud she would be to see you now – blood of her blood – so powerfully evoking her story, and drawing upon the threads of her life to weave into the now – and to open our eyes and hearts. A small white woman. A huge courage. I am deeply moved, troubled, uplifted. At first I wondered if the initials were infants lost – but that could not be so at the age of 15. A mystery – and possibly a marking of life and loves –on the side of her heart – whereas on the other side – those who marked her as a young woman? Such a life-shaking message – with no single answer….I was stunned at your power in performance – the fluid naturalness of your speaking – speaking truth to power – disrupting, honouring, tenderly bringing to life this brave (and marked) ancestor – she spoke through you.
And oh… the timing of the ambulances or police sirens during your performance. Perfect.
Janice Jones, Honorary Senior Lecturer, Arts Education, USQ
Moving through homelands
They walk beside me