Tony Albert, We Can Be Heroes, Pigment print on paper
An artwork based on a police shooting in Sydney has become the first photographic work to win the first prize in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award.
We Can Be Heroes is a series of photographs of young Aboriginal boys staring at the camera, defiant and proud, with red targets on their chests.
Artist Tony Albert said he made the work after Sydney police shot two Aboriginal teenagers who drove into a Kings Cross footpath in April 2012.
At the announcement of the $50,000 award at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory in Darwin, he said young Aboriginal men were targets for prejudice.
“We are kind of walking targets in society, whether that be through police violence or brutality, or being followed around in shops,” he said.
“It even transfers to things like the intervention in the Northern Territory, where without naming anyone or anyone imprisoned, there was blanket statements about men being paedophiles and women-bashers.
Australian Aboriginal accounts of lunar and solar eclipses indicate many traditional communities understood the movement of the Sun, Earth and Moon.
The research by Duane Hamacher from Sydney’s Macquarie University and accepted for publication in the journal Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage and appearing on the website arXiv.org, indicates Aboriginal communities in different parts of Australia often have similar traditional stories to explain these events.
According to Hamacher, Aboriginal Australians were careful observers of the night sky, possessing a complex understanding of the motions of astronomical bodies and their correlation with terrestrial events.
This included the passage of time, the movement of tides, changing seasons, and the emergence of particular food sources.
“Aboriginal people used the sky for navigation, marriage and totem classes, as well as cultural mnemonics”, says Hamacher.
Moon Man and Sun Woman
According to Hamacher lunar eclipses are generally seen to have a fairly negative connotation around the world, and Aboriginal traditional culture is no different.
“Many viewed eclipses negatively, frequently associating them with bad omens, evil magic, disease and death,” says Hamacher. “In many communities, elders or medicine men were believed to have the ability to control or avert eclipses by magical means, solidifying their role as provider and protector within the community.”
“That’s often because of the reddish colour the Moon takes on during an eclipse is seen in some traditional culture as blood, meaning someone’s been killed or the ‘Moon Man’ is going into the graves of the diseased and emerging covered in the blood of the dead.”
Hamacher’s research reveals far more stories associated with solar eclipses than lunar ones, despite there being far more lunar eclipses taking place.
“Most solar eclipse stories describe the Moon covering the Sun,” according Hamacher. “Unless you were paying close attention you wouldn’t normally see that, because it happens in the new Moon phase when we can hardly see the Moon”.
“In northern and central Australia, it’s seen as the Moon Man and Sun Woman making love. Other parts of Australia see it as a black bird or possum fur covering the Sun, or the use of some magical means to make the Sun disappear.
Hamacher says some groups, especially in south eastern Australia see the sky as a canopy being held up by spirits.
Indigenous children dress in traditional outfits in preparation for the Rey Curré festival. Courtesy The Culture Ministry
The moment tourists arrive at a Costa Rican airport, they see artifacts of the Boruca people: elaborately painted balsawood masks hang in the souvenir shops, sculpted like monsters, jaguars, and playful demons.
Travelers stop, lean into the masks, and wonder, Now where did these come from?
But to really understand Boruca heritage, amateur anthropologists should attend the 22nd Indigenous Cultural Festival in in the deeply rural community of Rey Curré.
The annual event is a comprehensive celebration of Boruca culture. (Also note that while they are commonly known as “the Boruca,” the more accurate nomenclature is the “Brunca”).
“These cultural spaces are very important, because they offer a place that the community needs,” said Uriel Rojas, a community representative, in a press release.
“The customs, traditions, traditional cuisine, games, crafts, artistic skills, oral tradition, archaeological heritage, [and] natural medicine are part of the different themes showcased at the community during these days of celebration.”
Among outsiders, the Boruca are particularly famous for their “Juego de los Diablitos,” or “Game of the Little Devils.”
The custom began during the conquistador invasion, when Boruca warriors discovered that the Catholic Spanish were afraid of demonic imagery and crafted fearsome-looking masks.
Today, Boruca descendants enact playful rituals wearing this devilish headgear, a unique mix of pre- and post-colonial ceremony.
A photographer’s journey into the Canadian Arctic reveals the vibrancy of life in one of the coldest inhabited regions on the planet.
In early November the sun dips below the horizon in Arctic Bay and the sky bruises violet and blue.
The sun won’t rise again here for three months, plunging the landscape into infinite twilight.
Amid tundra and sea, Nunavut (“our land” in Inuktitut) is the largest and northernmost territory of Canada, where a majority of the country’s Inuit population cluster in remote coastal communities.
Photographer and Fulbright grantee Acacia Johnson embraced one of the coldest and darkest winters on Earth in order to document the Inuit’s evolving relationship with their environment in her dreamlike series, Under the Same Stars.
“The only constant thing about the Arctic landscape is that it’s constantly changing,” Johnson says. “My [original] idea was to do this landscape project … I showed up and the reality is quite different from what you imagine. Instead, it seemed more important for me to focus on the cultural transition happening there.”
The faces of the Tatatoapik family glow under the light of the full moon. Each of their parkas has been sewn by women in the family.
When the Robins, a family from Melbourne, began a bush foods store and catering business back in 1986, they had no idea that it would grow to employ hundreds of Indigenous people across Australia.
Decades later, their ‘Outback Spirit’ sauces and chutneys are sold by major supermarkets everywhere.
The products have become the backbone of Coles’ Indigenous Food Fund, that has been providing ethical business opportunities to Indigenous bush food producers since 2001.
Juleigh Robins says it’s been quite a journey from when she first started the business.
“It was one night when I was stirring a pot of raspberry jam, I said to my business partner ‘I’ve just realised that every fruit we use, originally comes from somewhere else'”, she said.
“‘What have we got that’s Australian?’ I said.
“We couldn’t think of a single thing.”
I asked my business partner, ‘what have we got that’s Australian?’ We couldn’t think of a single thing.
And so began a journey of discovery and community-building that spans nearly three decades and thousands of square kilometres.
Robins Foods now regularly works with about five Indigenous bush food producers from around Alice Springs, Broome and across the Top End of the Northern Territory using unique bush foods such as bush tomato and Kakadu plum in their products.