Ingetje Tadros is a Dutch photojournalist who now lives in Broome in Western Australia. I’ve known her for some time now and have watched as she has gained world-wide recognition for her work documenting the lives of the Indigenous people of North West Australia.
Ingetje spent a number of years getting to know and photographing the inhabitants of Kennedy Hill, an Indigenous community in Broome, which along with up to 150 other Indigenous communities, is being threatened with closure by the state government. These closures would disrupt the lives of up to 12,000 people: splitting families, separating people from their ancestral lands and perpetuating the cycle of neglect, oppression and dispossession that the First Nations peoples of Australia have been subject to for more than 200 years
The resulting body of work, entitled, This is My Country, is Ingetje’s attempt to make known the plight of the people in these communities with the hope of having the policy overturned.
From her website:
I moved to Australia 12 years ago and was deeply affected by what I saw. I set out to document the lives of Australia’s indigenous people, travelling to remote regions of Australia’s vast and unforgiving outback to spend time in Aboriginal communities and witness their life on the margins. I heard and felt their discontent. I found communities fractured and in distress with high incidences of alcoholism, domestic violence and suicide. I saw that communities were mismanaged by their governments, not fully understood by the wider aid community and largely invisible to the remainder of Australian society.
I had the good fortune to live close to an Aboriginal community where I settled in Broome (a resort town by the sea on the north coast of Western Australia). Kennedy Hill, as it is called, lies on a beautiful piece of land overlooking the sea a short distance and on pristine real estate.
I feel strongly that the Aboriginal people are not treated with the respect they deserve as the First Peoples of this country. When you sit with the people and hear their stories it becomes obvious how beautiful these people are. Their connection with their land, their country and their family, is something we all can learn from.
Recently This is My Country was a feature exhibition for the Head On Photo Festival in Sydney. I spent a couple of hours with her photos and I found the experience overwhelming on a number of levels. Ingetje’s photos not only helped me to see what she had seen: the poverty, the distress, the brokenness of the people. There is something special about the photos that helped me feel with the people depicted in the photographs. I was saddened, angered, depressed and inspired to take action by what I saw and experienced.
Now this gifted and compassionate photographer is hoping to publish This is My Country in book form. As a result she has set up an Indiegogo crowdfunding appeal, that has in just two weeks raised over half of the fu
If you go to that link, you will see a video about the project, which is a powerful document in itself. I highly recommend you view the video. It will tell you so much about the plight of Australia’s first peoples and their struggle to survive.
This is an important project. Indigenous peoples in Australia are marginalized, not seen as a priority when it comes to government policy making, and their plight does not register high in the consciousness of the wider community. This is My Country hopes to change all that.
And that is where you come in. It would be great if you would consider backing the book And if you could share this post and the link to Indiegogo with your networks, it would go a long way towards bringing This is My Country before a wider audience.
Just to give you a little more background, here’s list of the awards this work has received so far:
- Walkley Award 2015 (Australian equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize)
- Finalist FotoEvidence Book Award 2016,
- Nominated for the ANI -PixPalace Award 2016,
- Winner Amnesty International Media Awards 2015,
- Winner Best Feature Photographic Essay at the 2015 West Australian Media Awards,
- Finalist in the United Nations Association of Australia Media Peace Awards 2015,
- Digital display at The Louvre in Paris 2015,
- Winner United Nations Awards 2014 (AUS),
- LensCulture Visual Story Telling Award 2014,
- The Juliet Margaret Cameron Award for Women 2013 (UK)
To finish off I am going to post (with permission) some of the photographs from This is My Country.
Thank you for reading all this. I hope you will help in any way you can. Money is good! So is sharing the links and this post and telling friends about this really very important and urgent situation.
Ingetje has worked as a photojournalist in many parts of the world, mainly highlighting the lives of marginalized and persecuted peoples. Please check out her links below to find more of her work.
Find her on Facebook
To expereince much more of Ingetje’s fine photojournalismt, visit her photostream on Flickr