It was brilliant to present with Sharon Orapeling (Botswana) and Roselle Tenefrancia (Philippines) at the recent annual Australian Fairy Tale Conference hosted this year in Brisbane. Many more thoughts on this conference to come, but this is a summary highlight of our presentation.
We began by acknowledging the many nations, of Indigenous Australia before it was colonised.
It was extremely moving for us as we shared the process of collecting our stories from family, community and online, and then followed this with a telling of a story each.
Although we personally felt we could not fully do the stories we chose the justice we hoped for in the time we had to prepare and tell (and we did work on this for several months), and saw all the ways to expand and improve our tellings in the future.
Still from the depths of our hearts, we honoured the past, whilst adapting to the present, our now home country Australia and the diaspora we all found within our identities and that of our families and the time limits we had.
We were very heartened by the reception to our journeys, and the seeds of the stories we could share.
We shared that we are really at the beginning of our journey to excavate and more fully develop the performances of the stories we unearthed in preparing for the conference. And the process we were engaged in was also in itself a process of decolonisation, and reclaiming and reconnecting to our cultures.
Each of us shared language, culture, and a specific story that was meaningful. I specifically shared the words and chant from my mother (Maipa Village, Papua New Guinea), from a lullaby she would sing to us when we (my brothers and I) were hanging in a string bag/ bilum wherever was handy when she worked.
The presentations over the weekend from many other wonderful presenters, thinkers, tellers, artists, educators, and performers, arts workers, psychologists sparked many thoughts for us and have inspired us to think what next?
We thanks the AFTS family for giving us the opportunity to present and the audience for your listening.