What happens when five young Aboriginal Women from NSW, with their unique skills and experiences combined are invited to travel to London, England, the ancestral homeland of the colonisers?
Tiddas Take Back London, that’s what!
One street at a time, land mass, by land mass.
‘Tiddas’… A colloquial term with many negative historical connotations used commonly in the land illegally occupied under duress and currently referred as AUSTRALIA, is used to describe a young woman of Aboriginal decent in this case from the south eastern terrain.
Australian Aboriginal people are currently the most socio-economic disadvantaged group in Australian society and yet our inalienable rights continue to be threatened with abuse further still.
Due to the current political climate of assimilationist propaganda within their own respective communities, these ‘5 Tiddas’ are reclaiming, re-appropriating, re-voicing and re-engaging at any and every opportunity with a nation that has not been known historically for its polite ‘discourse with the natives’, therefore they have felt that some part of the home of the Colonisers, shall be claimed under the authority of their individual and collective Sovereignty, either literally or symbolically, by force or in peace as a form of recompense for the inherited dispossession and disconnection as the ‘colonised’ that they have experienced .
Join this group of young Aboriginal women working across various fields of the arts in Australia, who are traveling to London in October 2013 to attend the Origins Festival of First Nations, the ‘In the Balance: Indigeneity, Performance, Globalisation’ conference, and the Ecocentrix Art Exhibition. During our travels we hope to meet many amazing First Nations artists and arts companies, and share their work with our audience via this blog. We will also be documenting our day to day experiences through photos, written reflections, video and more.
Follow us on a true journey of Reconciliation and Political discourse that should have taken place more than 225 years ago, between one empire and land of many diverse nations and states…
This Journey is about re-clamation. This journey is about self-development and discovery.
This journey is about ownership.
This journey is about the recognition of the Strong Young Black Women we are and the Legacy we have inherited and the obligation we carry to honour the path laid by our ancestors.
We call on our old people and spirit of our mother, the land to protect us and walk with us, as we bear our flag proudly across foreign shores.
THE TIDDAS ARE…
Ali is a Darkinjung woman from the Central Coast of NSW with family connections to Wiradjuri and Ngiyampaa, and a graduate of the BA (Design for Theatre and Television) from Charles Sturt University. In 2009 Ali was an Indigenous Trainee at the Sydney Opera House, working as a production assistant on the Message Sticks Indigenous Film Festival and the Luminous (Vivid) Festival, and managed Performance Space’s IndigeLab residency at the Bundanon Trust. Ali spent a year and a half with Arts NSW as Administrative Officer in Capacity and Development, Aboriginal Cultural Development, working on the development and delivery of the New South Wales Aboriginal Arts and Cultural Strategy. Ali has joined Performance Space again as the Indigenous Projects Officer, working on the Indigespace residency program which offers creative development opportunities for work from Indigenous artists, and developing strategies for engaging Indigenous or culturally diverse artists and audiences with Performance Space. This position was established under the Australia Council’s Emerging Indigenous Producer Mentorship program as an 18 month contract, which has been extended to a full-time staff position. Ali is also studying a Masters (Arts Management) through the University of Technology, Sydney.
Follow Ali on twitter and instagram: @superfishali
Gabi Widders is a young Aboriginal woman from the Anaiwan and Gumbangier peoples and has been raised on country in Armidale, NSW. She relocated to Sydney to pursue a Fine Arts degree at the College of Fine Arts; majoring in Photomedia. Gabi works primarily with photography but also works within different mediums such as painting, drawing and mixed media.
A core element of Gabi’s art practise is to develop work that critically discusses and examines the Indigenous experience. Her work (primarily photography) is an ongoing commentary of her family’s accumulative experiences as Aboriginal Australians and is documentation of her endeavour to revitalise and maintain her connection to country (Anaiwan and Gumbangier).
Despite relocating to Sydney to study Fine Arts, Gabi has also been working within the Interpretation industry to develop and manage Indigenous content for the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority. Her work is to ensure appropriate delivery of Aboriginal interpretation that adheres to core Aboriginal protocols with the overlying responsibility of maintaining and revitalising Aboriginal culture within Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authorities precincts. This is exemplified by the Aboriginal programs that she manages and oversees at The Rocks, Sydney.
Gabi has also been involved in curating Aboriginal exhibitions and public programs at The Rocks Discovery Museum with the works varying from traditional painting to contemporary portraiture. All works that are exhibited within the space maintain a sense of place and are a means of culture maintenance for the Artist and audience.
In her pursuit to further her professional development Gabi has identified that participating in the Indigeneity conference will strengthen her art making process by giving her exposure to International channels and platforms within contemporary Indigenous art and its current trends. This is exemplified by the high calibre of International artist who will be attending such as Cheryl L’Hirondelle – First Nations Canadian artist whose expertise within the arts would be beneficial to Gabi’s art practise development. In addition to working as a multi-disciplinary artist Cheryl has worked within the arts in differing platforms and capacities such art programming, consultancy.
Lorna Munro is a multi- disciplinary artist, working with visual arts, poetry, performance, language and writing. She is also a broadcaster with Koori Radio 93.7FMand an emerging playwright, and set designer. She has been an active member of her community since the age of 13.
This dynamic 24 year old proud Wiradjuri/ Gamilaroi woman calls the Redfern / Waterloo area of the inner city, Sydney home, she honours her teachers and elders by passing on what she was taught and she is currently developing and facilitating art/poetry programs and tours interpreting the history of her local area with young people along with her work with The Red Room Company.
Lorna has been strongly influenced and nurtured by her activist parents and mentored by many other members of the Black Power Movement, who she affectionately refers to as her Aunties and Uncles and acknowledges the privileged education she has received.
She is an emerging artist with a growing profile having had work in Boomali’s 2010 exhibition ‘Celebrating 25 years of strength’ and designed and produced set design and instillation pieces for The Belvoir Theatre’s production of ‘Don’t Take your Love To Town’ adapted and directed by Leah Purcell and Eamon Flackbased on the autobiographical book of the same title written by Ruby Langford Ginibi.
Some of Lorna’s work includes TV and Film, appearing in the ABC’s ‘Australia on Trial’ (2012), ‘The Years that made us’ (2013), ‘Redfern Now’ (2012),’Redfern Now II’ (2013) and supported and worked with some of the world’s greatest poets like Luka Lesson (Australian 2012 Poetry Slam Champion) in his last Sydney performance at 107 projects in Redfern, Nick Bryant (aka SOLO from Horrorshow), contributed spoken word poetry, collaborated with other Aboriginal artists like Darah (Melbourne) and TeilZ (Brisbane) on the ‘Invasion Day Mix tape 2013’ and has had poetry and performances feature in the Sydney Writers Festivalin 2012 and 2013.
Louana Sainsbury is from the Burramatta clan, of the Darug nation. She commenced studies in Acting for Screen and Stage at Charles Sturt University, later transferring to a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Performance Studies and Film Studies at the University of New South Wales, where she graduated with Distinction in 2010.
In 2011, Louana commenced work as an Assistant Stage Manager Trainee with Bangarra Dance Theatre. During her time with the company she has worked as an Assistant Stage Manager for the national tour of Belong as well as the Glen St Theatre season of the show of earth and sky. She has also worked as an Assistant Stage Manager for the 2012 tour of the Sydney Theatre Company play Bloodland.
In April 2012, Louana joined Belvoir as Emerging Indigenous Producer. She has worked on a number of projects within their Artistic and Programming department including Beautiful One Day, Medea, Don’t Take Your Love To Town and Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. In addition to her work at Belvoir, Louana also attended the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts in the Solomon Islands in 2012, where she was mentored by Rhoda Roberts and assisted in the coordination of the Australian delegation over the course of the festival.
In 2013, Louana undertook a short attachment at Sydney Opera House working as a Programming Assistant for Message Sticks Festival. Following this she commenced her employment as Project Co-ordinator at Urban Theatre Projects and is currently producing their latest show Catalogue of Dreams.
Merindah Donnelly was born on Wiradjuri country in Forbes, and spent her childhood growing up on Gamilaraay country in Tingha, NSW. Merindah works in Market Development at the Australia Council for the Arts. In this position she designs and develops strategies to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and companies to develop new markets nationally and internationally, whilst balancing and maintaining cultural integrity. Merindah has worked for ISEA; International Symposium of Electronic Art where she produced and directed the opening night, and curated her first exhibition Naala-Ba; portraying the ongoing fight against neo colonial oppression. A passionate ambassador for culture, she practices NSW Aboriginal dance and weaving, and is an advocate for the rights of her people to claim control of and enhance their cultural sovereignty, maintenance and development through the arts. Merindah is currently on secondment with the Brisbane PowerHouse as the Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM) Program Producer.
From time to time we will invite others to join us on our travels and contribute to this site and our social media accounts.
Tiddas Take Back has been supported by the NSW State Government through Arts NSW, Oxfam Australia’s ChangeCourse, the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, the Australia Council for the Arts Emerging Indigenous Producer Mentorship Program, Performance Space, and Urban Theatre Projects. We would also like to express our gratitude for the advice and support from the Origins Festival of First Nations, Merindah Donnelly of Market Development, Australia Council for the Arts, and each of our families and communities.