Palya! The Stolen Generations
«Stolen generations» is the name referred to Australian aboriginal and Torresian Island children who are removed from their families by Australian federal governments and religious missions, according to parliamentary norms. Starting from 1869, forced expulsions continued until the end of 1970s.
Aboriginal people are spiritually connected to the land and their country: the forced eradication from their native territories ruined them and broke the relationship with their Spirits.
A lot of Aboriginal families do not understood “white man’s ways” and they see things differently to that of society. Incapable of adapting and reinventing theirselves in one’s own land they turned to alcohol and drugs and lost their way through their heartache and pain.
Indigenous people are like long-term refugees displaced on their own land.
The trauma and the feeling of loss is intergenerational: it has been transmitted by the families who have passed through the stolen generation and still represents an emergency affecting the Australian society.
Despite the policies of reconciliation and social reintegration, several Australian aborigines roam like purging souls in Australian cities and territories, unable to accept the Western status quo.
“Palya” is a Pintupi language word meaning “good”. The word Palya is also a way of greeting. It’s a common word among Australians living in the city of Alice Springs and its suburbs, one of the areas most affected by the issue of homeless Aborigines living in precarious conditions.
Through a series of portraits, my photographic work tells some people related to the Stolen generations – their faces, their identities, their environment – and reflects on a still bleeding wound of Australian cultural memory.