Tahlia Palmer

Community Arts & Cultural Development

Dinewan Healing: An Artist’s Search for Stolen Aboriginal Identity

Going to go do some research, for me and everyone like me who comes from Australian First Nations but don’t know exactly where they come from. Gonna make lots of art along the way too.

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I am an Australian woman, a visual artist and writer, with Aboriginal heritage. I am aware that this heritage lies in the Murri region, but due to family circumstances, I don’t know exact lands or clans or languages; generations of pressure to hide our Aboriginality kept these details from me. I live on this continent, home of the world’s oldest culture, my stolen culture… I need to find that information, for myself, for my disconnected family, and for my future children. My search for identity has always informed my art practice, and now I need to pay respects to my ancestors; I am ready to know them.

I’m applying for Copyright Agency funding (as yet unconfirmed) to help pay the costs of a mentorship with a QLD based geneologist who is on board with teaching me these skills, BUT I need a few more dollars to help make my 21 day journey (November-December 2016) more productive and informative (travel to areas of importance in my Murri family line, photograph, film, record audio, see what happens).

This will all be done in the lead-up to creating a new body of photographic and audiovisual work, as well as a book, about the process of reclaiming my family’s Aboriginal knowledge and culture, and exploring the stories that were lost to the last four generations of my family.

I know a bunch of people in a similar position as I, and when we’ve spoken about this topic, they have expressed their unknowningness of how to start figuring out their own details, so I want to bring these research skills to share with my fellow disconnected folk, by hosting genealogy workshops. I want to share my family stories, and help others to find their own.

Friends, cousins, brothers and sisters, please help.

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Born in Perth, Western Australia, 1987.
Studied Fine Art and Communications.
Student of Australian history.
Documentary and freelance photographer, freelance writer, painter. Currently on a quest to find the details of my Aboriginal ancestry.

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