I decided to find the time to enter the realm of the bloggers after being snubbed. That sort of thing has a way of making you angry enough to go to a little more effort than you normally would. You see, I committed a cardinal sin apparently. I saw offence in a piece of artwork and tried to speak up.
This piece, in particular:-
The artist in question, Bindi Cole, is front and centre. Notably, a woman with white skin whose entire family has decided to paint themselves in minstrel make-up and adorn headscarves as if to portray themselves as Aboriginal Elders. All in an effort apparently to stymie those people who, when told by Ms Cole that she is Aboriginal, always reply 'but, not really Aboriginal'.
I hate to cast aspersions on any persons talent, real or imagined, but controversy in itself is not art. It reads instead like a prank gone wrong, a hit and a big miss at social commentary, and if the 'artist' in question didn't claim to have Aboriginal Heritage, the outrage, quite rightly, would have been enormous. The urban art scene fainted in joy at her 'boldness' and talent. At every opening of gushing urbanites, it was a sea of white skin.
If Ms Cole truly understood the offence that blackface causes to those people who, unlike her, have black skin, this piece of 'art' would not exist. I have seen many beautiful pieces of photography that I would class as art. This is not one of them.
Putting her foot in it even further, Ms Cole goes on to claim (in her accompanying notes to her work that were submitted for, and won, a $25k Indigenous Art prize) that there are no full-blooded Aborigines left in Victoria. Being that I am actually black skinned and an Aborigine from Victoria whose family lineage research thus far has established I am a 'full-blood', I am puzzled. Has Ms Cole traced all Victorian Aboriginal genealogies? Is she a self-appointed expert on the matter, or did she hope to slip that one under the radar and hope nobody would notice?
I asked for a retraction of her statement and an apology. I am still waiting for the dignity of a reply. Somehow, I imagine one will not be forthcoming. I am more than happy to prove my heritage and stand behind what I say, funnily, Ms Cole is not at all interested in opening a dialogue. She wields power in the community, being that she is part of a fast growing group of coddled and entitled White Aborigines who have found favour with other White Skinned Aboriginies in important Indigenous Identified positions throughout Bureaucratic Australia.
So, this blog is my outlet, to share my encounters with people like Ms Cole, and all the other people who use Aboriginality as a way to further their careers, whilst exploiting the very people they claim to represent. My way to feel like I have a voice, as a black skinned Aboriginal man who feels ignored by the very people who are purporting to represent him, but in essence, do not.