It was a cold and rainy night but that did not stop the crowd who came to support the launch for the Sorry For Your Loss Installation at Boomalli Co-operative in Leichhardt on Wednesday the 30th of May, 2018.
This project is an installation piece made up of communal artwork and visual and audio performances set within a cell block. The piece tells the true story of the lives of the women who have died while in custody, pushing back against mainstream narratives.
It was amazing to see the build of the cell and all the elements come together over 3 days.
Click on the link to watch: Sorry For Your Loss Time-lapse
Both key creatives Associate Professor Pauline Clague and Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt were overwhelmed by the support from all that attended. They voice their feelings about the project.
Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt
“This has been really amazing and really overwhelming. I have been going to Boomalli since it opened so it seems surreal to have something actually here but I guess also seeing all of the elements come together finally getting into the space, I had a bit of a walk through before the crowds got here and just feeling the power of the sadness and the tragedy but also the power of the healing and the rebuilding and the nurturing. It has been really amazing and great to have so many people turn up. It is actually really nice to celebrate Pauline’s vision around the project as well because she conceived it, she drove it and she brought everyone together and it has been fabulous to celebrate that”.
Associate Professor Pauline Clague
“I can’t separate myself as an Aboriginal woman, away from the story. I feel like I am walking with those women every day. There is something like 112 books that was part of the recommendations that was done back in the early 90s and each one of those books represents a life. We wanted to make sure that we honour them, not just as a book that sits on the shelf and gathers dust. We wanted to give them a life and a story that allowed people to not just feel them but be nurtured and comforted by the cultural elements that are around the possum cloak and the weaving and the other elements as well. We hope that we have done the family’s proud tonight”.
The evening was hosted by Koori Radios Blakchat’s presenter Lola Forester. The night was opened with the Welcome to Country and deeply heartfelt words by Donna Ingram. Donna had participated in the possum cloak making week and shared her warmth and support to the project.
The energy in the space was hugely compelling and there were many embraces and tears. The sounds of the cell block filled the air while people moved through the space to walk with the many Aboriginal women who have died in custody.
Conversations from the crowd strengthened the space at Boomalli and I think everyone would agree that this installation wholeheartedly pays tribute to that work and what the families are going through and how much silence around these issues.
The strong impact of this launch was shared by Lola the following morning on Koori Radio with Pauline Clague to share the event and hope that everyone who missed out can come’s along to experience this tribute before the closing of the installation on the 24th of June.