Being Aboriginal and same-sex attracted, I’ve never felt I’m part of the mainstream; with non-Aboriginals and heterosexuals in authority—and in society in general—constantly trying to define, influence, or oppress those aspects of me that they could never hope to understand.
Racism and homophobia are entrenched in Australian culture. Even today, the Recognise referendum and the marriage equality plebiscite will see members of the dominant cultures debating and deciding what they think is right and acceptable for me and my peers.
My art practice gives me a voice. It’s a chance to say something and to deliver a message in a way that people are likely to approach with an open mind.
I don’t need to ask permission to talk about what I want, my message won’t be undermined by ignorant reactionaries, and I get to reflect what is happening in our society.
On a personal level, it’s a chance for me to be creative in different media and forums. As a software developer, all my creations have been virtual. As a visual artist, I also get to create things that are tangible.
Being self-taught, I feel the freedom to experiment in my practice. Perhaps one day I’ll find ‘my thing’ but, for now, I’m excited by the opportunities to explore, play and learn. Many of my works address negative issues but I’m not an ‘angry black’ or ‘bitter queen’. My creations are imbued with spirit, hope, and power. Just as trauma can carry across generations, so too can strength and resilience.
Photo: Anne Clark
Purchased 2012. This acquisition has been acquired in recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the 1967 Referendum.
At Face Value 2013
Purchased 2014. This acquisition has been acquired in recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the 1967 Referendum.
Search for works by this artist in the national collection.
Raymond Zada (Barkindji/Pakindji people)