Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Wayne Quilliam, you made the shit list

I was going to leave Wayne for a later time.  He is actually quite a talented photographer.  I've really liked some of his work, but, he's crossed that same line.  A white guy trying to speak out for black guys.

This is Wayne:-

Wayne is a highly acclaimed Indigenous Photographer.  In fact, he won the 2009 NAIDOC Artist of the Year.  He has gone from strength to strength, award to award and sweetly funded position to even more sweetly funded position.  All with the help of one little word, Indigenous. We must congratulate Wayne though, on his recent appointment as Adjunct Professor of RMIT.  That would have never happened though, without those 'Indigenous Connections', let us not forget that.

Due to being white, he apparently does have a really interesting viewpoint in his new role.  From his own words regarding his new appointment:-

“Twenty five years of working in rural, remote and urban Indigenous communities in Australia and overseas has given me a unique perspective regarding the visualisation of our people.  Fortunately, an earlier decision to remain impartial and politically neutral allows me the freedom to be a conduit between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.  This freedom will see me living with and photographing a remote community with no running water or fresh food one day and the next delivering a key note address to the country’s top CEO’s at a five star hotel”.

Yes, the burden of the White Aborigine is difficult to bear.  I can only imagine Wayne, I can only imagine.  How anyone can watch their 'brother' go without, take a few snaps and then cozy up in a 5 star (heaven forbid, should it be a 4 star or less!) hotel and reassure CEO's that yes, they are helping, and yes, things are being done.

Could it be true?  Does Australia have its very own Kevin Carter?

Lets just hope that when the heartbreaking photos come to light (and likely win an Indigenous Art Award) that those who go without fresh food and running water every single day aren't treated as an object of art, but, we wake up as a  nation to the reality of what is going on behind the media screen.

Oh, before I forget.  Wayne,  you aren't getting off that lightly.  You have taken it upon yourself to speak up for the black man too.

A recent ADF scandal involving a young man by the name of Sam Borrett, who posted the following charming comment on his Facebook page:-

“was going through a few magazines at the local abo shelter, was having soooooo (sic) much fun until the rifle jammed”

saw Wayne Quilliam, a former Navy Serviceman on top of all his other incredible achievements, say the following when the journos came to him for comment:-

“The funny thing is, when I read (Sam Borrett)’s comment, and when I was sent that racist comment, I sort of sat back and tried to recall whether it was like that when I was there. And it wasn’t,” 

Wayne, I don't imagine you've had to deal with much racism because of the colour of your skin.  Pretending you knew what it was like for black skinned men in the late 70's and 80's is not cool.  Just because the journo doing the story was too lazy to do their research and find out you aren't black skinned, and, random strangers would not identify you as indigenous, does not make your comments valid.  I can no more talk about how life was for women in the 80's (being a man and all) than you can talk about how black skinned people endured racism in your day.  What you experienced would be a massive gulf between.  Don't let that fact escape you Wayne, it will keep you grounded, and, honest.

Hopefully.  I can always hope...right?


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