The collection exposed the resilience and resistance of Aboriginal people towards cultural assimilation and celebrated the survival and strength of Aboriginal people today. Emerging photographer Kaleesha Morris is a proud Gumbaynggir and Kulkagal woman from Grafton, New South Wales - passionate about the empowerment and cultural revival of her people.
Artist Statement – Kaleesha Morris
This exhibition is my very first, therefore, I want to introduce myself to you all in the best way I know how, and that is, by showing you who I truly am.
Nginyundi bijaar Kaleesha ga, Ngaya Niigarrwunban.gan Gumbaynggirr wajarr. My name is Kaleesha, I am an Aboriginal woman of Gumbaynggirr country. I come from a long, long line of Gumbaynggirr people, dating back to Yuludarla - the special time of this Earths creation. I am a young person of the oldest surviving, resilient race on this Earth.
It is from our Yuludarla, our people have been blessed with this beautiful land, its resources, its languages, song-lines, laws, ceremonies and cultures. For several tens of thousands of years, perhaps hundreds of thousands of years, my people have been entrusted with knowledge and stories that have been passed down from generation to generation- in the hope that such important bodies of knowledge will be honoured and harmony between the people, the environment and everything in between, maintained.
This exhibition gifts our imagination of the Aboriginal histories of the Rocks area with its living legacies - legacies which continue to breathe culture, dynamism and magic.
I love photography because I believe in its power and potential as an effective medium of change and that by using it, I can be an agent of social change myself.
A powerful photo has the ability to quickly capture audience’s attention, to provide for cross-cultural and social connection and to expose people to confronting truths; realities which I believe are often obscured and invisible to the wider public.
The number one presence I strive to capture in each of my shots is a sense “social and cultural intimacy”- impressions that serve as reminders and re-affirmations within audiences of their own inalienable humane traits, shots that have the power to inject conscience, inspire humanitarianism, affect social attitudes, discourses and hopefully effect change.
I employ digital techniques of colour vibrancy to highlight the power and influence of spiritual energies imbued within people and their environment. I also use patterned layering techniques to impact the inter-connectedness between the person and their environment.
This collection seeks to illustrate the very real vivacious existence of our young peoples’ ongoing connection to country.
It is a celebration of our faith, exploration, discoveries, respect, admiration and profound love for our Aboriginality.
Ngarraanga nginundi Yuludara Remember your Dreaming.