People's Choice Photograph Highlights Women's Role in Working on Country
9 August 2012
A photograph of Traditional Owners with hands covered in the red clay of their island home has won the people's choice award in the 2012 Working on Country Photography Competition.
Lisa Roeger's Three Ladies in Red Clay highlights the importance of culture and tradition to the people of Dhambaliya, an island in the Dhimurru Indigenous Protected Area.
Three female Traditional Owners hold hands, covered in red clay called Bularrarr, which has spiritual significance and medicinal properties. As well as being named the public's favourite, Lisa also won second prize for Three Ladies in Red Clay, and the inaugural Women on Country Award for her photograph Nursery djama.
The Working on Country Photography Competition showcases the work of Indigenous rangers in the Australian Government's Working on Country and Indigenous Protected Areas programs, which support Indigenous aspirations to care for country and build the capacity of Indigenous land and sea rangers to deliver environmental services that benefit all Australians.
Today's announcement of the People's Choice Award marks the United Nations International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples. The Women on Country Award recognises the integral role women play in caring for country and recognises outstanding images of women, taken by women. The third biennial Working on Country Photography Competition received more than 120 entries from Indigenous rangers and their communities. Winners were announced during NAIDOC week at an exhibition of 40 entries at the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra. Voting for the People's Choice Award was open for four weeks during July-August.
The Australian Government now employs close to 700 Indigenous rangers across 85 rangers groups through the Working on Country program–a vital contribution to Closing the Gap on Indigenous disadvantage. To view all entries in the exhibition, including Lisa's award winning photos, go to www.environment.gov.au/indigenous/workingoncountry/index.html