When:1 December 2017 - 20 January 2018
A photographic exhibition of stories from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with Disabilities. By award winning artist Belinda Mason.
The Unfinished Business project reveals the stories of 30 people with disability from Australian First Nation communities who have been captured on film by award winning artist Belinda Mason.
“Through their involvement in the project each participant draws much-needed attention to critical issues that impact on their lives. Participants of the exhibition live with a wide range of disability experiences – acquired, congenital, sensory, psychological, intellectual, visible and invisible.”
“Every story is complex and intertwined with Australia’s political and social history, which has resulted in today’s unacceptably high rates of disability in Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities,” said Ms Mason.
Gayle Rankine is featured in the exhibition and is the Chairperson of First Peoples Disability Network Australia.
Gayle says “Our Indigenous people of Australia are 3 per cent of the total Australian population. But of that 3 per cent the most recent statistics reveal that at least 50 per cent is affected by some form of disability. So it’s very bad numbers for our people.”
“You must remember there is no word for disability in any Indigenous language. So a lot of our people haven’t connected with agencies, one, because of colonization and the fact that you have the ‘Stolen Generations’, it’s the fear of having a child removed from them and growing up institutionalised.”
“I am extremely passionate about it, but now I am here, fighting the fight, fighting the fear, fighting the racism.”
“We face a double discrimination, discrimination because of our disability and because of our race. Racism is based from ignorance I say. But having a disability, you get a double whammy.”
Accessibility is at the heart of this exhibition. The core 30 images of participants are all 3D holographic lenticulars and these are matched with a short film of the participants. People with sensory, cognitive and learning impairments are able to engage with the exhibition through is a mobile App on their mobile phone or iPad.
The app provides both Australian and American sign language (AUSLAN and ASL), audio description, and a captioned audio book.
The Unfinished Business exhibition was launched in September 2013 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva by Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, then Director General of the United Nations Office in Geneva, and Peter Woolcott, Australia’s Ambassador to the United Nations. The work was displayed to coincide with the 24th Session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), a body within the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The Unfinished Business project was supported by the First Peoples Disability Network and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, through the Australian Mission in Geneva. From December 2013 – April 2014 the exhibition was displayed at the World Health Organisation Headquarters in Geneva.
Unfinished Business was also a part of Australia’s official contribution to the United Nations 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Persons. This was supported by the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.