Say no to Aboriginal community closures


by Jana Bohlmann

Confronting, real and eye-opening describes the work of the award-winning photographer Ingetje Tadros the best. In her latest photography exhibition ‘This is my country – Say no to Aboriginal Community Closures’ at107 Projects in Redfern, she managed to give the viewers an impression of what life looks like  in the Aboriginal community Kennedy Hill in Broome, Western Australia.

Ingetje Tadros is originally from the Netherlands but has been living in Broome for twelve years. During this time she had the chance to find out more about indigenous communities in Australia and how people, who live there are being treated. Five years ago, she started to document life in these indigenous communities in and around Broome in the hope of starting a conversation about social change. 

“I have always been appalled by the way Aboriginal people were treated. It disturbed and disgusted me, so I decided to have a closer look and started mingling with Aboriginal people.” she says. 

Ingetje went to the communities, talked to people and asked if she could spend time with them. After visiting many different communities, she decided to only document one, which was Kennedy Hill. The Kennedy Hill Community was one of the communities facing closure as well as 100 other communities in Western Australia. 

She started taking pictures of the life in Kennedy Hill. Pictures of everyday life to show what it means to live in Kennedy Hill. Her biggest reward from her work was the smiles she got whenever she printed out the images she took and gave them to the people. Many people would call her up and ask her to come over to take some family photos. During her time working in Kennedy Hill, she became very close friends with many people, who live there. They let her into their lives and let her take pictures because they started trusting her and that alone says a lot. 

Ingetje was shocked when she saw what life actually looks like in the Kennedy Hill Community. She couldn’t believe that people in a rich country like Australia have to live in such poverty like they do in Kennedy Hill and numerous other indigenous communities. 

“The community of Kennedy Hill seemed to me like a different planet situated on ‘pristine real estate’ and I was annoyed about the negativity expressed towards Aboriginal people.” she says. 

The decision to document life in the community of Kennedy Hill was based on the closure of the community. To Ingetje, Kennedy Hill acts as a representative of other indigenous communities, which face closure also. 

To her, her photos are evidence of people, who live in poverty and are suffering from a long ongoing systemic social and historical human rights abuse. 

With this work, Ingetje hopes to wake people up and show them that live in Australia is not the same for everyone and that we need to stop believing that the government is doing all it can for the Aboriginal people in this country. 

“As confronting as some of my photographs are here, I hope that they will communicate the plight of people in them and act as a catalyst for debate and an agent for social change no matter how small.“ Ingetje explains. 

Visitors of the exhibition were struck, moved and saddened at the same time by Ingetje’s work. Many of them, who didn’t know what is actually going on in Aboriginal communities, were quite confronted with the photographs, but also grateful for getting a glimpse of life in these communities. 

Let’s hope that these strong photographs will start a conversation about how everyone in Australia can help and change the social injustice of Aboriginal people. 

The stories behind the photographs

Click on the tags in the right hand corner of the images and find out more about the story behind them and what they mean to Ingetje. 

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