Michael Jalaru Torres knows how to tell a difficult story with profound grace.  A Djugan and Yawuru man with tribal connections to Jabirr Jabirr and Gooniyandi people, the Broome based photographer features the unique landscapes and people of the Kimberley region prominently in his work, along with a strong message of social justice.

His photography draws on stories and personal history and explores contemporary social and political issues facing Indigenous people, promoting ‘positive and individualised representations of Indigenous people’.

A series of beautiful portraits he created for an exhibition called Scar III is showing during May 2018 as part of the Head On photography festival in Sydney, telling diverse stories ranging from the practice of Aboriginal ‘blackbirding’ in Broome and Roebourne to the Stolen Generation.

In an interview for the ABC, Michael said that “I need to draw people in with beautiful imagery because [non-Indigenous] people don’t want to see or believe the stories if they’re faced with a confronting image.”

“I want [non-Indigenous people] to embrace it even if it’s confronting, and ask ‘Where do I find more information about this?'”

The photos in this collection reflect the story of a Kimberley community’s campaign for answers in relation to multiple deaths that occurred amongst men employed in a weed-spraying program in the 1970s and 1980s, using a now-banned substance called 245T, an ingredient in Agent Orange.

A forgotten story weighed down by significant and ongoing human trauma that evokes compassion in the telling.  Art has great power to say what words may not, and to inspire us to greater compassion.

In Visible Ink is a platform for the creative expression of the untold stories in our community, a space for safe discourse on the issues that matter to us most at a human level, and a place that inspires social change.

 

You can see and read more about Michael’s work at the following sites:

http://www.jalaru.photography

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-13/michael-jalaru-torres-explores-australias-history-of-slavery/9726892

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-21/kimberley-chemical-legacy-continues-to-haunt-wa-families/6558388