Ariel Ruby: Shit Talk / Real Talk
“I want to find a meaning…just to stay alive…another day, another time.”
This text inscription was recorded in 2015*, at the long since derelict building site of Murawina** childcare centre on Eveleigh St in Redfern. As the Aboriginal Tent Embassy’s fire burned proud and strong, many buildings lay empty, claimed and destined for development. When I read these words tagged on a burnt out, empty stairwell, the sound of the city and trains muted behind. I let myself take them in, to discover a place of understanding.
The slow but decided neglect and disruption of The Block, and subsequent gentrification of Redfern, has led to the dispersal and displacement of Aboriginal people and residents. The Block has always been a meeting place for Indigenous Australians, becoming a hub for community, a vital part of identity, and a place that people could call home. The media has not been there when it comes to the reality of life and community needs in Redfern, and our knowledge of the historic and contemporary is often based on lies formed through misguided and skewed information presented as fact.
The Block was, and should remain, the beating black heart and spirit of Redfern. While we now build our paradise here, it is our responsibility to make choices to be informed and engaged, to seek and question knowledge with open eyes, open ears, and an open mind.
*7th October 2015, Murawina Childcare Centre site, Eveleigh Street, Redfern.
**Murawina began in 1972 in Hollis Park, Newtown, when a group of Aboriginal mothers began providing meals to young children. By 1974 the group had expanded into a childcare centre, and purchased land on Eveleigh St in Redfern.
Ariel Ruby’s practice explores a range of materials and subjects, often employing ethnographic strategies to produce varied reflective visual outcomes with a strong intent.