The ‘m e r i’ Project by Wendy Mocke – NorthSite Contemporary Arts gallery in Cairns 30 October-11 December 2021

This project is being officially opened tonight 19 November 2021, from 5.30pm to 8.30pm. All welcome – no charge but RSVPs need to be made HERE

Wendy writes: ‘The foyer bar will be open to purchase Friday afternoon drinks 🥂, there will be live music 🎼 performed by the phenomenal Klare KuOlga – Soul/ Singer/Songwriter.This is an amazing way to end off the working week by coming to the gallery, kicking back with a glass of wine, incredible live music and a walk through of the gallery to immerse yourself with stories and imagery of the Black magic that is Papua New Guinean women.’

‘The ‘m e r i’ project is a collection of photographs and stories, initiated from years of conversations with young Papua New Guinean women. Whilst unpacking questions surrounding cultural identity and Black womanhood, I encountered a recurring theme: Young PNG women often feel silenced and actively fight against a limited vision of what is deemed possible for themselves. …This creative project focuses on the re-contextualizing of PNG women. Its aim is to find innovative ways for PNG women to define themselves. To speak their truth to power, without fear of erasure.

‘The ‘m e r i’ project was created and developed across different countries. It was formed on Djabugay Country, developed further on Yirrganydji Country, Kuku Yalanji Country and even took me across to Motu Koitabu Country in Papua New Guinea. Although I am an Indigenous Pacific Islander woman, I also am a black settler living on this continent known as Australia.

‘Being a Black Pacific Islander woman is a gravity-defying dance of cultural duality. Our bones remember the names of our Tumbunas and our tribal names sit on the edges of our tongue. It is our map, our return passage back to our homes. Our tumbunas whispered into us the stars they slept under at night. Willing us to move forward, beyond our ancestral land. Into a world that is not quite ready for us. Being a Black Pacific Islander woman means existing in the intersection of multiple oppressions of racism and misogyny. There is a level of exhaustion that comes with being invisible and highly visible at the same time.’

This project is supported by the Cairns Regional Council’s Regional Arts Development fund and the 5Five.
Audio interviews and further information:  HERE

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