Strong Aboriginal Man

A photographic exhibition by Marion Wighton-Packham for Condo SkyFest 2019, Wiradjuri Study Centre.

Strong stance with feet and beliefs planted in the earth
Strong mind to make a difference
Strong body to move, work and love
Strong connections that matter to family, friends and his people
Strong need to achieve all that he can to leave a legacy
He is holding it all together, holding on STRONG

Marion Wighton Packham
4.37 am, 7 Feb. 2019
dedicated to my sons Errol and Joseph 
and to all the young men of Condobolin

“Warriors come in many shapes and sizes,” says photographer Marion (Maz) Wighton Packham. “Their approaches might be different but ultimately they all have the same jobs to do: care for their families, assist in their community, work hard, love, provide life-long lessons and enjoy life.”

“These strong men contribute to remote country communities every day in many ways. Even though they usually are only ever recognised in one role they wear many hats, and sometimes what they do is unseen. That’s the way they like it. No fuss.

 “Strong Aboriginal men get up every day and try to provide for their families. Sometimes the journey is dark and difficult but once they see the smiles on the faces of those they love they know it is worth it. The sense of belonging and accomplishment when they complete a goal is so great it encourages them to keep going.

“Strong Aboriginal Men listen, learn, guide and show us the path we should be on. They have experienced hard times themselves, but they get back up and keep going.”

“What they do matters. What they do makes a difference. Aboriginal men are Strong, Proud and Present.”

Marion Wighton Packham’s exhibition, Strong Aboriginal Man, SkyFest 2019, Wiradjuri Study Centre, Condobolin, October 2019. Photo by MF.

“Make no fuss about me or what I do,’ they think. “It will be alright, let’s just get on with the job.” And they do. They are brothers, uncles, husbands, fathers, grandfathers and Elders in our communities, and they all contribute in their own way.”

Marion’s photographic project, Strong Aboriginal Man, was inspired by the strong men in her own family and by a dear friend “who works hard to be all he can be for his family, and endeavours to leave a lasting legacy for them.”

She has often spoken with these strong men about providing positive male role models for her boys and for all Condo’s youth. She now believes Aboriginal dance and culture has the most positive impact on her boys and others.

“When our boys stand up to dance with good men, they stand up straighter and taller,” she says. “They’re transformed. Dancing brings respect – for themselves and for others. Times have changed and the need for culture and expressing ourselves is paramount.

“As a strong Aboriginal Man you can stand tall and proud because you are known, valued and loved. That’s what Yindyamarra-Respect is.”

Maz’s photographs of the following Strong Aboriginal Men were included in this exhibition:

  • Colin Wighton
  • Steve Taylor
  • Warren Williams
  • Roger Dargin
  • Mark Thorpe
  • Luke Barnes
  • Treigh Coe
  • Keven Ready
  • Nathan Coe
  • James Porter
  • Uncle Lindsay (Dick) Richards

Marion (Maz) Wighton-Packham with her camera at home in Condobolin. Photo by her daughter, Eliza Packham, October 2019.

Maz is also a gifted writer. One of her short stories, ‘Riverbank Dreaming,’ about growing up Wiradjuri in Condo, was published in Dark Sky Dreamings: an Inland Skywriters Anthology (IP), in 2019.

Acknowledgements

Maz would like to thank her extended Wighton-Packham family, including her sons and daughter who inspired her writing and photography; her parents and Elders; the strong men who allowed themselves to be photographed; the Wiradjuri Study Centre for hosting her exhibition; Tennille, Vicki and Merrill for believing in her; Todd and Aleesha for helping her hang the exhibition; Camera House in Orange for being so helpful with the printing and framing of her images; Bev Coe for inspiring her and others in our region; and the Condobolin community for all the support they’ve given her over the years, and for the joy and fulfillment she experiences working with them to bring about positive change for our children.

Page created 4 April 2020. Last updated 17 April 2020.

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