It’s a sad irony that the world is consumed by its vision to build organized cities and grand structures for its present and future people, while those who came before that built and tilled the lands to sustain life and pave the way for that vision to even materialize. Sadly, their generation has been displaced and nearly relegated to the realm of mere memory.
This is the case of the Aboriginal people of Western Australia. Ingetje Tadros, a Dutch documentary photographer, presents the harrowing lives of Australia’s first people in her compelling new photobook, This Is My Country.
Kennedy Hill, one of the few Aboriginal communities left but set to be demolished, welcomed Ingetje into their lives to document their struggles to regain their land and dignity amidst poverty, homelessness, alcoholism, and suicide among the youth.
Ingetje’s black and white portraits of men, women, and children living in poor conditions, mainly due to the government’s lack of support, painstakingly exposes the long, old history of racism against the Aboriginal people without being exploitative.
Despite the vulnerable pictures of several families camping and sleeping in bed outside condemned houses, there are also images of the community and individuals upholding their culture and traditions, which only goes to show that they still possess a strong and unwavering identity.
This Is My Country is the rallying cry of the Aboriginals as they stand to lose their land. Ingetje hopes to break the apathy against the Aboriginal people and that her photographs will “serve as a catalyst for debate and inspire engagement and social change.”
This photobook is highly recommended, especially to those who are still finding their voice in the documentary genre. This Is My Country has an uncompromised form and concise visual story that raises the issues of displacement and discrimination of an indigenous community.