My name’s Bindi Cole. I’m an Aboriginal woman of Wathaurong descent.
I am an artist, primarily in photography. I currently live in Caroline Springs.
My mum bought me my first camera when I was 13 and a little dark room kit that I would process my films in my bedroom at home. Photography just seemed like a natural choice for me.
There was a time when I didn’t live with my mum and I eventually ended up living with my Aboriginal grandmother, which is on my father’s side.
I had always known that I was Aboriginal but it was really during that time that she instilled a strong sense of pride in me around my Aboriginal background.
The majority of my creative practice to date has been about reconciling my identity with the world, and mostly reconciling that Aboriginal part of me.
I made a series called ‘Not Really Aboriginal’ and that was made in response to how I was perceiving the world was perceiving me. So I would identify to people as being Aboriginal and so often the response I would get was: ‘But you’re not really Aboriginal.’ And I realised that there was a very strong stereotype out there.
The thought of this, the thought of people trying to deny that heritage in me actually made me really uncomfortable. But then I thought stuff it, I’m actually gonna go right into that feeling of discomfort, get it out, put it out there on display for everyone to see.
The response from the Aboriginal community was amazing, I had overwhelming support. It’s been a very strengthening process.
And I have had young girls from the Aboriginal community coming up to me saying thank you so much for making this work, I wish… This is how I feel and I don’t know how to talk about it and you’ve just put it exactly how I feel in a picture in front of my face.
When I think about belonging in terms of my Aboriginality it is essentially about belonging to my family, to my father, to my grandmother and to my ancestors and those that have gone before me.
And then in a broader sense it’s really about belonging to this community that I’m very much a part of here.