Serving Country exhibition on display in Civic Library

Released 01/12/2017

A free photographic exhibition, Serving Country, is currently on display at the Civic Library that acknowledges and recognises the contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who have served or are currently serving in the Australian Defence Forces.

Photographer Belinda Mason and her son Dieter Knierim worked closely with the Department of Veterans Affairs and travelled throughout Australian states and territories, interviewing and photographing more than 150 participants for this exhibition. Serving Country was launched in Sydney at the 2014 VIVID Festival Wartime Legends light show and has since travelled to a variety of locations.

Director of Libraries ACT, Vanessa Little spoke of the significance of Serving Country and encouraged the Canberra community to visit Civic Library.

“We are honoured to bring this photographic exhibition to the Civic Library. Serving Country is a platform for storytelling, and shares the stories and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen and service women who have served and are presently serving in the Australian Defence Forces,” Ms Little said.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are believed to have served since the Boer War in South Africa (1899-1902), pre-dating Federation. This is particularly significant as we know this was a time of expanding white settlement, where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were dispossessed of their traditional lands and suffered brutal treatment at the hands of white settlers.

“This exhibition is a collection of black and white portraits that share the stories of some of these courageous men and women, stories that are poignant and will have an impact on every person who visits this exhibition.

“I encourage the Canberra community to visit Civic Library and learn from this important exhibition, which includes several Canberra residents. This exhibition serves as a reminder of the contributions Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have made, and continue to make, to Australia,” Ms Little said.

Serving Country is on display at the Civic Library till Sunday 28 January 2018.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that the exhibition contains images of deceased people.

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