NAIDOC photography exhibition showcases Aboriginal identity and cultural pride

Published on Monday, 22 March 2021 at 4:09:18 PM


GRAMS Photography Competition entrants, Shauna Oakley (left) and Sarah Stewart (right)


The NAIDOC Photography Exhibition currently on display in the Museum of Geraldton showcases the rich heritage and cultural identity of the Indigenous community from last year’s NAIDOC Photography Competition run by Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service (GRAMS).


The NAIDOC Photography Competition was launched as part of GRAMS’ NAIDOC community engagement initiative in 2020 which asked community members to capture what ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’ meant to them.


GRAMS Health Promotions Officer David Batty said the competition aimed to promote a sense of belonging and cultural pride.


“We wanted to give the community an opportunity to share their story, celebrate their history and become proud of where they came from and who they are,” said Mr Batty.


“We hope the exhibition will help people to learn the life, history and culture of First Nations people and work towards preserving Aboriginal culture,”


“It was amazing to witness the strong emotional response we had on the exhibition opening day. We hope the exhibition will inspire more people to embrace their Indigenous tradition and culture.”


Photography competition winner Shauna Oakley said the photographs offer a special glimpse into the lives of the Indigenous community and being a photographer gave her an opportunity to tell their stories.


“Storytelling has been a part our culture since the beginning and I wanted to use photography to communicate our stories,” said Miss Oakley


“I started taking photos 10 years ago when my daughter was born to capture the special moments in our lives. After being asked to take some photos for others, I decided to become a photographer to help safekeep memories and tell their stories.”


Shauna’s winning photo ‘Yambamutha (Our Children)’ depicts the importance of passing knowledge and culture to the younger generations in order to keep culture and heritage alive.


“There is a high risk of Indigenous people losing their connection to culture which could affect our social and emotional wellbeing,” said Miss Oakley.


“I started my project of capturing Indigenous culture and stories a few years ago to help build a sense of connection to my heritage as a Malgana woman from Shark Bay,”


“I felt like I was losing my cultural identity and after speaking to my Dad to learn more about my heritage, I decided to start my photography project to help connect back to country and my culture.


“I was blown away by the display at the exhibition and the powerful photos shared by the community. There needs to be more initiatives like this to help empower cultural survival.”


Manager of the Museum of Geraldton Leigh O’Brien said the Museum is proud to be able to showcase the stunning photography and provide a platform to support Indigenous heritage.


“The Museum of Geraldton is delighted to feature this collection of photographs from GRAMS’ 2020 NAIDOC Photography competition, with entrants expressing their identity and culture through these wonderful images,” said Miss O’Brien.


“The exhibition is on display until 2nd of May, allowing visitors to experience the community’s rich heritage and learn their unique stories.”


The GRAMS NAIDOC 2-year calendar featuring each of the NAIDOC competition photos is available at the Museum shop for purchase for $15, with all proceeds going to GRAMS.


The GRAMS NAIDOC Photography exhibition is open at the Museum of Geraldton until 2 May 2021.


GRAMS Health Promotions Officer David Batty speaking at the exhibition opening

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