It was this work titled ‘Wathaurung Mob’ as part of the Not Really Aboriginal series that first introduced me to Bindi Cole’s work and it's an image I've never forgotten.
She’s a very interesting artist in general but you really can't ignore this type of work. But it's not just because of the political and social implications of such a work but because the issues of identity touch us all.
Who do we belong to? How do we identify as part of those groups we belong to? Often a lot of it has to do with how we look, how we dress, how we talk - some of these are choices we make deliberately, but some are not.
What then, does it mean when how we look is different to what others expect? When the inside and the outside of us don’t appear to match up so well. Does that mean we should deny that part of ourselves just to please others? Conform to their visual expectations? How do you challenge something like that?
This series was one way that Bindi choose to explore this as a fair skinned Aboriginal and one who has had to live with the repeated comment ‘…but you’re not really Aboriginal’…
“I’m not black. I’m not from a remote community. Does that mean I’m not really Aboriginal? Or do Aboriginal people come in all shapes, sizes and colours and live in all areas of Australia, remote and urban?” Bindi Cole (The Australian article below).
This work and others of Cole’s challenges our interpretation and expectation of others.
How do we identify with and respond to the stereotypes that others place upon us?
What stereotypes do we place upon others?
How do we see others and ourselves?
short video re this series
The Australian article
Blog by Bindi Cole re this series