On Friday 7 August, all Year 6 students and teachers from both Maddingley and Woodlea campuses were given the amazing opportunity to hear from A. Professor Wayne Quilliam. This was a fabulous experience for all of us, and thanks to the wonders of technology, participants were able to come together in the comfort of their own homes or offices via Zoom – certainly a first for us as classroom teachers!
Aboriginal photographer, artist, film maker, drone pilot, A. Professor Wayne Quilliam continues to expand his cultural practice as one of Australia’s leading creative minds. His award-winning career includes the coveted NAIDOC Aboriginal Artist of the Year, Human Rights Media Award, Walkley Award for photojournalism and a nomination for a Master of Photography by National Geographic.
He has created and curated over 300 exhibitions throughout the world and been published in more than 1000 magazines, books, and newspapers. He is the first photographer to hold four individual exhibitions at the U.N in New York and Geneva for his work on Indigenous Women’s Rights, and represents his people at international conferences and forums on Indigenous affairs.
He has documented events across the globe for more than 30 years, including: the Apology, 1967 Referendum anniversary, Garma, Laura, Burunga, Dreaming and Yeperenye festivals, as well as thousands of community events throughout the country. Wayne works with Indigenous groups in Cuba, Mexico, Bolivia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia and Guam developing intercultural art and cultural exchanges.
In 2020, Wayne will release his first book entitled ‘Culture is Life’ and he has been commissioned to create a series of work to be projected onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge during Vivid Festival. Wayne’s art will feature on the Mt Yengo wine labels and his 3D creations will open at the World Expo on Dubai.
Wayne shared with us a variety of his photographs, as well as many stories. The students had the chance to ask lots of questions and were very appreciative of the wealth of knowledge and experience with which Wayne was able to answer them. The talk greatly enhanced our study of Indigenous culture and the Stolen Generations, particularly being able to hear the perspectives of a proud, gracious and incredibly successful Indigenous man.
We sincerely thank Wayne and his daughter, Tanisha from 6A, for this incredible experience.
Mrs Kelly Dilges – Deputy Head of Middle School
I believed it was an insightful, interesting speech about the physiology of skin colour when it comes to Indigenous Australians, what many Indigenous practices were and just about Indigenous life and culture in general. I really enjoyed the speech. He was able to show us in his photography the small private lives of people he had met all around the country. I enjoyed how freely and proudly he embraced his heritage, something that might not have occurred only 50 or so years ago.
On Friday 7 August, the Year 6 students had the opportunity to hear Wayne Quilliam speak. He spoke to us about his photographs and his photographic career. When he was 16, he left school to join the military. He longed for the day when he could leave a town near Hobart and see the world. Wayne had lots of jobs before he started exhibiting his work all over the world; he has had over 220 exhibits around the world. I really liked the photos of the Aboriginal people, especially after watching Rabbit Proof Fence. It made me wonder about that person’s family history and what Aboriginal Country they were from. He was very interesting and I liked that he came from a small town in Tasmania and worked very hard following his dream and made it to the big cities of the world. I think the message was if you love something, and work very hard, you can become successful, but you have to work hard.
I was really excited when I heard we would have Mr. Quilliam speaking to us, I’ve always been interested in Indigenous Culture and Photography, which is what he talked to us about. It was really interesting and engaging. I enjoyed listening to him talk about the Stolen Generation, and I found the photographs he showed us really interesting because of their stories. Mr. Quilliam brought up a song called ‘Treaty’ and I listened to it and it was a really good song with a good intention. It was overall a very fascinating experience and I loved learning.
Today we met the extraordinary A. Professor Wayne Quilliam who is an Indigenous Australian photographer, artist, videographer and drone pilot. He is an extremely talented and highly intelligent person who has a lot of knowledge of Indigenous culture, art and a plethora of other information about Aborigines and other countries. He loves learning about the diversity of other countries and enjoys exploring deeply into their cultures. Wayne has created and curated over 150 exhibitions throughout the world and been published in more than 1,000 magazines, books and newspapers. We met him today in a Zoom meeting with all Year 6 classes to discuss and learn more about our topic this term, ‘’The Stolen Generations’’, the history of Australia and more about our First People. We had first talked about Welcome to Country. We started talking about what it signified, why they welcome, (which was very important to Aborigines) and how they did their welcome. He provided us with some information explaining the smoke ceremony which cleanses the soul as part of our welcome. The slides were very captivating to look at and taught us a lot more about Indigenous Australians and how they had rights too. We also conferred on the topic of the stolen generation and Kevin Rudd’s speech and a lot more. We all really enjoyed and grasped an abundance of facts about our Australian history and Aborigines. BMG students were very pleased and thankful for the amazing Wayne Quilliam who had shared and taught us many new facts and information about the traditional owners of our land.
Wayne had a good understanding of the Indigenous culture and I found it quite interesting to hear it from someone with an Indigenous background. He started with no knowledge of photography, then became a famous photographer with an Indigenous background. The thing that interested me the most was the fact that the Aborigines had to introduce themselves, so that they could roam on more land.
There were many interesting facts which Wayne talked to us about. He was very knowledgeable and he delivered straight answers to our questions. One of the answers that stuck out to me was; that if an indigenous person has perished in a house, all the other people that lived there would sometimes move out, until the soul of that person had risen above the clouds and that house was free from the soul. They do this because they think that they might make the soul angry with their presence and it will haunt them. But sometimes it is because people want that soul to live a peaceful life as a soul in that house until they do leave.
Wayne has travelled all over the world for his exhibitions of his pictures and paintings. He is currently a painter and photographer and is soon learning to be a doctor. Wayne works around Australia and focuses on Indigenous people and their life and what they do, like their cultures, dances, ceremonies, everything! Wayne sometimes uses drones to help with his photos if he can’t use a usual camera, if it’s at a special event, or when he wants a higher angle.