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Darlene Johnson on a politics of filmmaking

By Sista Girl Productions, 2009 2:10 minutes

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Darlene Johnson was initially motivated to make films as a political response to the exclusion of Indigenous people from the media. In making films from an Aboriginal perspective, Johnson sees herself as making a contribution to Indigenous cultural heritage. She is inspired by the beauty of Tracey Moffatt’s films and the intellectual stamina and political determination of Aboriginal activist and scholar Marcia Langton. Johnson’s first film, Two Bob Mermaid (1996), deals with the complexity of being a white-skinned Aboriginal teenager.

Collection Blak Wave

Discussion Points

Darlene Johnson talks about the invisibility of Aboriginal people in the media when she was growing up.

In our 1990 survey of advertising, Aborigines appeared for 3 seconds of the 100,000 seconds captured, and the only images were still photographs of Aboriginal children in face paint, used to sell a Japanese camera.
Andrew Jakubowicz, 1994, p 60

In Australian society, most of the stories we share about our culture are communicated through media such as television and film.

  • Why have the stories and interests of some groups been given priority over those of others?
  • What is the effect of being made invisible in the media?