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Wodonga TAFE and AWAHS team up for Indigenous photography course

A photography course targeting First Nations mothers has culminated in a “powerful” Aboriginal mum and bub photography exhibition on display in Wodonga during NAIDOC week.
Seven Aboriginal women learned to use digital cameras in the Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service and Wodonga TAFE’s ‘Mubal and Bali’ (meaning ‘mums and bubs’ in Wiradjuri language) project.
AWAHS Aboriginal health promotion worker and project participant, Proud Ngarrindjeri Woman Brittany Wright said the group used photography to explore Aboriginal culture around birthing, motherhood, and babies.
“We wanted it to particularly lead up into NAIDOC week as a celebration of our expected babies and babies from the previous year into the new year,” she said.
Ms Wright said it was also an opportunity to support Aboriginal women into or back into the education system, provide families with affordable quality photographs, share cultural knowledge and practices and to promote positive health behaviours in mothers.
Photography is quite expensive to go and have done, for families especially,” she said.
“So for those that don’t have that money, we want to give them a free service to give to family.”
Over 15 weeks the program’s participants took more than 1000 pictures with models in traditional clothing and face or body paint.
Gamilaroi woman and program participant Trish Cerminara said it was a “powerful project” for photographers and models.
“It didn’t become like a course, it became like a family thing that we all did together,” she said.
“For the models it was giving an opportunity to learn a little bit more about country and birthing and traditional styles, traditional wears.
“It may be nine months, but it’s actually only a short time and women don’t usually take photographs of their tummies and especially when they’re painted, which connects them to their culture.
“So this gave them the opportunity to have really good prints of themselves and their babies.”
After positive feedback and purchase offers, Ms Wright hoped the program would run again.
“People wanting the buy the photos and put them within their services for more culture throughout their businesses, I think that’s amazing,” she said.
“It’s powerful.
“It’s really powerful for people who aren’t aboriginal and want to incorporate more culture into their organisations.”