~ The Art Of Change ~ with Carol Omer ~

Art and Creativity as Mediums for Empowerment , Connection and Change…

Archive for June, 2007

Australian Government to enforce alcohol bans in Aboriginal Communities

Posted by carolom on June 23, 2007

A report into child sexual abuse in Aboriginal Communities has resulted in the Australian Government introducing enforced alcohol bans and medical examinations for all children under 6 in the Northern Territory communities.
Responses are polarised….in the eyes of some, these Aborignal-only laws will only add to the racism and separatism that started the cycle of anger and despair that has lead to many of the issues of abuse and violence in the first place. Others are asking what laws and enforced medical procedures will be put on the white miners who make up some of the numbers of the perpetrators of abuse….

The following is a letter to our state newspaper that I wrote on a day when the news of the bans were released across the country….with headlines that further places Aboriginal Australians in the pathologised, ‘troubled /wounded’ place of the collective Australian psyche, once again ignoring the depth and knowledge of traditional Aborginal culture in its pre-invasion state.

Some leaders are in agreeance with the decision as you can see here and others are concerned for the well being of families who will have to comply with the enforced medical examinations as you can read about here…..


Letter to the Adelaide Advertiser 22nd June 2007

There is a saying that goes, “What is impressed upon a person will be
expressed by the person”.
For thousands of years Aboriginal society was a strong culture
defined by co-operation not competition, sustainable land management
and spiritual and cultural practices that enriched and enhanced
community life. Mental well being, a sense of meaning and purpose,
mutual obligation and belonging defined cultural identity.
A comparatively short time ago land theft, internment into opressive
camps, punishment for speaking ones own language, legalised child
removal, alcohol in exchange for compliance, sexual abuse, work
without wages, lack of legal status until 1967, maginalisation and
poverty was impressed upon the heart and soul of a once strong and
flourishing society.

As a nation we are in the very early days of recovery from the impact
of abducting children from loving family arms and the consequences of
a materialistic, competitive culture inflicting its values and fraught
land management practices upon the traditional land owners.To enforce more laws, rules and restrictions in an attempt to protect
the children is a long way from the deep healing, development of
meaningful relationships between Aborignal and non-Aborginal people
and the strengthening of the heart and soul needed for Aboriginal
Australia to recover from the violence and multiple traumas
inflicted.

What we are seeing now is simply the mirrored- expression of what has
been impressed in very recent times and as Einstein wisely
counselled….”The significant problems we face cannot be solved at
the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”.
We need to think from the heart and link hands as a nation over the
coming years to recover the strength, dignity and courage that
defined Aboriginal society for so long… until us white fellas came
stomping across the country, trampling peoples lives and seeding the
current crisis across Aboriginal society today.
Let’s at least hear you say “Sorry” John Howard before you begin
issuing more of the autocratic rules and dominant culture control
that started the problem in the first place.

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Posted in Aboriginal, Australia, Childhood, Community, Elders, Fear, Relationships | 2 Comments »

Damper Campers

Posted by carolom on June 22, 2007

I have just returned from four days away on the magnificent remote west-coast line of South Australia where we held an art~creativity camp for a group of wonderful women….

Women who really know how to cook camp food like no other!

Here is the resident damper-baker extraordinnaire baking the 2 huge loaves that fed over 30 people….this would have to be one of the yummiest Mandalas ever made!

If you have never had camp fire-baked fresh bread with butter and home made soup, you have definitely missed out on the magical experience of eating home baked bread moulded by hands that create something uniquely delicious from wheat and water….

The out door oven had its photo taken so that when the women get back to their community, the men can make a damper oven for them too!…..

Next camp we decided we would have ‘pamper sessions’ in the program, using bush medicines and massage….that will make us Pamper Damper Campers!…..;-)




Posted in Aboriginal, Community, Creativity, Sisterhood, Stories, Warrior Women | 4 Comments »

Afghan Camaleers in Australia

Posted by carolom on June 9, 2007

Sal and I filmed the launch of the Afghan Camaleers exhibition last night.

Two of the speakers were Eric Sultan and Mona Wilson (nee Akbar)

Eric and Mona are direct descendants of Afghan~Aborginal ancestry a rich and at times very political merging of two cultures that were equally at home in the desert country.

I was delighted to catch up with Mona again.

Although we don’t share a cultural background we are both born on February 28th…I was born on her 30th Birthday and there is definitely something Fishy about our connection which goes back many years and with lots of fond memories……….

A brief synopsis of Mona’s story can be read by clicking here______

..and you can read more about the exhibition by clicking here_______

Eric Sultan pointed out that not all of the Camaleers were Afghan and there was a much broader representation of faiths and cultures than is generally recognised when discussing the Camaleers and their impact on the outback of Australia.

From the Museum homepage:
Australia’s Muslim Cameleers

Pioneers of the Inland 1860s to 1930s

Muslim Explorers and Pioneers of Central Australia’s Inland will reveal the remarkable contribution which Australia’s first Muslim community made to the exploration and settlement of Australia’s arid interior.

The stories of Muslim explorers and pioneers provide an intriguing counterbalance to dominant white explorer legends of Central Australia.

Muslims have been part of Australian society since the Burke and Wills expedition (1860) and have contributed significantly to Australia’s economic and cultural development.

Muslim cameleers assisted all major expeditions into Australia’s uncharted interior during the late 19th century.

These Muslim pioneers provided the lifeblood for many inland settlements, isolated stations and mines, and forged communication routes through remote Australia.

The exhibition tells this compelling story and investigates its continuing resonance with descendants from Australia’s Muslim communities.

Posted in Aboriginal, Afghan, Community, Journeys, Lifes Stories, Stories | 2 Comments »

Art of Community- Women drawing Change…

Posted by carolom on June 8, 2007

I was invited to facilitate a Community Art project celebrating 30 years of service to the community by a domestic violence accommodation and support service.
We created 6 installation Mandalas over 5 weeks with a group of women who had been housed by the agency in the last few years.
At the end of the the project one of the participants said that reconnecting with her creativity made her think beyond being a ‘survivor of domestic violence’ and “I found parts of me I didn’t know were there”….another participant went on to employment in the human services sector – part of that process was beginning to look forward as a result of looking back to where she was when she first entered the agency in crisis…

The staff of the shelter also created a piece that represented the inspiration they find in the Womens stories and their courage to change.

Heres a photo of four of the 6 Art of Community Mandalas with a description of the theme we used to create it:

The Future is in our Hands
This Mandala is created by a circle of hands that reflect the power we have to make new choices & create new dreams.

Our Strength as Women
Who is the “Warrior Woman”, what are her strengths & how does she go about creating change and developing the life she desires?

30 years of Service
Many Women and Children have passed through the doors since 1977 and the agency is an important part of the community. This art piece reflects the role that the agency has played in creating a safer, more peaceful community.

World Peace Begins at Home
Our home should be the place where we feel safe and at peace. This Mandala has the theme of the Peace Dove and reflects the importance of living in a safe & peaceful home.

The Mandalas now sit on the wall of the group room of the agency…..

Posted in Community, Creativity, Imagination, Lifes Stories, Mandalas, Prosperity, Sisterhood, Social Artistry, The Art of Change, Warrior Women, Wealth, Wisdom | 1 Comment »

A Warriors Mind is like a Spear….

Posted by carolom on June 5, 2007

We ran a group for young men at risk today. The art activity was based on the theme:

“A Warriors mind is like a Spear.
Strong
Straight
Sharp and
Focussed”

I created a Mandala with the Spear as the central theme for the boys to colour in during the program and one of the Youthworkers said that when the Men in his family travelled to the city, people did not want to employ them because they were Aboriginal.They met with racism and opression in 1960’s Australia and once their sense of purpose and worth began to be affected, drinking and the pub replaced work and respsonsibiity.
He said:
“Their spear became short and blunt and it wasn’t a strong weapon anymore”

What a powerful metaphor for what happens to a mind that becomes infected by the attitudes and stereotypings of others.
I will attach an image of the Mandala when one is coloured in – (the image below is from a separate source).

Next week we are going to look at “Mental Poise and Mental Poisons”…if these young Warriors walking-wrong-track embrace the concept about the power of the Mind at the age they are at, then they can reclaim who they were always meant to be…….after all “Reclaim” is just the word Miracle in anagrom disguise…


And the Boomerang reminds us that we get back what we put out…what goes round comes round….
Click here to see the source of above Image

Posted in Aboriginal, Change, Imagination, Mind Power, Spirituality, Transformation | Leave a Comment »

Reconciliation Week 2007

Posted by carolom on June 1, 2007

Reconiliation Week draws to a close .
Here are some of the images I took last weekend…

The Ceremony Honouring Aborignal Service Men and Women…once they returned to home soil after fighting side by side, Aborigines were not allowed to drink in hotels with their fellow Servicemen /women…

Val …..a long term activist and artist- known for her colourful attire and powerful orations

Gifts from Service clubs and Govt deptartments for Kaurna Plains School. Kaurna Plains is an Aborginal School where language is taught and culture kept strong…..

Including “Survival in our Own Land”…a powerful history of the impact of colonisation on Nunga (Aborignal people) is a book every Australian should read…

Later in the morning people gathered for the annual march…and Karl prepared the fire ceremony

Then my good buddy Katrina appeared from the crowd with a politcal statement about the decline of Aboriginal social Justice issues in the 10 years of Howards government. she really got the crowd thinking…

Katrina was the first Aboriginal journalist for Murdoch’s press. You can hear some of her story in a short doco we made with her..click on NTV4 on the T.V graphic

The Fire was lit and carried down to the River side where there was music and celebrations

Later in the week I was honoured to present the Art of Change as co-host at a Wellness Camp and we created some empowerment heart together…

Reconciliation Week 2007…perhaps in 2008 there will be further Celebrations as the new government meets its agreement to formally apologise for the Stolen Generation and begin to redress the balance Energetically between Black and non-Black Australia.

Posted in Aboriginal, Community, Energy, Kaurna, Social Artistry, Spirituality, Wealth | 1 Comment »