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FINDING THE WAY HOME
Painting and story by Garry Purchase.
Growing up Aboriginal and being around mob and other blackfullas is something I just figured was normal as a kid. Back in the 1980’s I used to run wild with my cousins around La Perouse and we’d explore and get into all sorts of mischief.
We’d go swimming and climbing all over the break wall at Yarra bay which was literally at the end of the street from my grandmothers house. We’d explore the surrounding bush and make weapons and all sorts of other things, play games like tag, have rock fights and if we could get enough of us, we’d play footy on the mission and try and smash each other with the biggest tackles we could land.
It was innocent fun and they were great carefree times....
but as I’ve grown in both age and knowledge, I can see the bigger picture that I was oblivious to back then.
I didn’t know what a “mission” was. I didn’t know about “assimilation”. I had no idea as to the nightmare that had preceded me.
I didn’t know anything.
It wasn’t until I was older and started talking more to other Aboriginal people and especially men and women who were older that I learned the truth.
I’ve had the privilege to speak with so many people from plenty of different mobs and hear the stories of disconnection and families being torn apart by government policy and the systematic destruction of a proud culture. The level of damage is unfathomable. It can’t be hidden any longer. It can’t be swept under the rug.
This painting is for those who as a result are lost,
This is for those that have lost their sense of identity and connection.
For those that are trying to discover who they truly are.
This is for those who suffered and were forcibly stripped of their language, customs, tribal lands and very being.
There is hope.
We are still here.
We are still proud.
You are not alone.
Under the watch of the old people may you find your way home.