In­spi­ra­tional women in fo­cus

Albany Extra - - News - Saskia Adysti

The strong bond be­tween in­dige­nous women in the Great South­ern is be­ing shown through a photo ex­hibit project at Katan­ning Art Gallery this week.

The ex­hi­bi­tion was de­vel­oped by Narelle Parker, a youth coun­cil­lor from Palmer­ston who wanted to show the real story be­hind the in­dige­nous women in her com­mu­nity.

“There are a lot of neg­a­tive images out there about Abo­rig­i­nal women,” she said. “I just re­ally wanted to show that these women are here and they are strong.

“Some of them are do­ing it tough and their sto­ries are quite amaz­ing and in­spi­ra­tional.” Parker said she started the project to boost the con­fi­dence of young Abo­rig­i­nal women in her com­mu­nity.

How­ever, the project de­vel­oped to in­clude their grand­moth­ers, moth­ers, aun­ties, sis­ters and cousins to re­flect the im­por­tance of the net­work of women within Abo­rig­i­nal fam­i­lies.

One of Parker’s photo sub­jects, Hazel Ealem, a lo­cal Noon­gar woman, said her mother was her con­stant in­spi­ra­tion and role model.

“She is a great source of wis­dom, knowl­edge and strength,” she said.

“I re­mem­ber I would look at her in to­tal awe; awe that whilst she was pro­vid­ing for her chil­dren, she was also work­ing full-time in many dif­fer­ent jobs over many years.”

Parker said the ex­hibit had moved many peo­ple in the com­mu­nity and also shocked some of her photo sub­jects.

“It’s been quite emo­tional for them to see them­selves up there like that,” she said.

“But for me, this is ac­tu­ally how I see them when I talk to them and hear their sto­ries; I see them as this amaz­ing beau­ti­ful per­son.

“Es­pe­cially for some of these younger girls, they’re very shy and these pho­tos help them shine and put them in a more pos­i­tive light.”

The Katan­ning NAIDOC ex­hi­bi­tion, ti­tled Be­cause of Her, We Can, will be at Katan­ning Art Gallery un­til Fri­day, July 20.

One of the images themed Be­cause of Her, We Can.

Pic­tures: Me­lanie English

Mia, Ebony and Mag­gie Ri­ley.

Mia and Mag­gie Ri­ley.

Hazel Ealem

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