“Familiarity with suffering makes you very strong.”
– Paola Balla

In the second episode of our season on belonging and exclusion, created in partnership with FCAC, cross-disciplinary performance artist Carly Sheppard and PhD researcher, artist and curator extraordinaire Paola Balla speak about Australian Aboriginal women’s perspective on intersectionality, motherhood, contemporary feminism, and making art. We are so privileged to be listening in.

“I think a lot of people don’t realise that it’s embedded white supremacy that’s the problem, it’s not necessarily the white people. And until they understand that they carry the scars of colonisation as well… Obviously, they don’t carry the scars that we carry, we’re a different set. But they haven’t yet owned their own set. They don’t even know what they are.”
– Carly Sheppard

This episode was recorded at Women of the World Melbourne, amongst the hustle and bustle of the festival. There were so many complex and interesting ideas and generosity of sharing going on that we wanted to catch ideas as they landed. The conversation was recorded following a discussion on motherhood, which is reflected in the conversation between our guests.

As usual, we gave our guests some general questions we were curious to hear about, but otherwise we just listened.

Discussed in this episode:
white women explaining things on behalf of black women, sitting with conflict, giving birth at 21, postnatal depression, contemporary feminism, life as a white-presenting blackfella, not understanding the conflict you’re born into, the oppression of being ladylike, what does it even mean, having it all?, how sometimes you need a safe landing, and listening to the silences of trauma.

“Matriarchy has been around for tens of thousands of generations. And we had our roles in our culture: we never felt inferior to men. That was never a thing. That’s a colonial construct.”
– Paola Balla

If you wish to know more: Jana has written about Carly Sheppard’s work in RealTime, which had appeared at Next Wave 2014’s BLAK WAVE; here is another review, in The Conversation. If you are curious to know more about Paola Balla, have a look at the exhibition ‘Sovereignty’ she recently curated for ACCA, read her 2016 interview with Il Globo, or watch this ABC video.

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This season of Audiostage was created in partnership with Footscray Community Arts Centre as part of WOW – Women of the World Festival Melbourne, delivered in association with Southbank Centre London.