NAIDOC week is a time to acknowledge the important issues Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people face. It’s also a time to celebrate the healing spirit of reconciliation amongst both our First Nations and LGBTQI+ communities.
Daniel McDonald is a visual artist of the Gadigal and Wonnarua People, living with a hearing impairment. Daniel produced his first ‘Deadly Hand Talk Exhibition’ in 2018 during NAIDOC Week, deciding to finally debut himself in respect of the NAIDOC theme ‘Because of her, we can!’ paying respect to his grandmother and aunty Mumma Shirl.
- What does this year’s NAIDOC theme ‘Heal Country’ mean to you?
The theme reminds me of our Gadigal land on Oxford Street. There are so many stories told over there. I first went to Oxford Street when I was about 5 and a half years old.
- How can our First Nations communities and LGBTQI+ communities work together when it comes to healing?
We are all different parts of different mobs in our LGBTQI+ community. Our time to heal together comes during our special LGBTQI+ NAIDOC week. It doesn’t matter that we are all in lockdown, we are still connected on Facebook and Instagram.
- What is the biggest issue facing our LGBTQI+ First Nations communities?
We are facing human rights issues within our community. We are telling stories about our country healing and our human rights. We all have different stories to tell.
- What’s your message of love/hope?
I love telling stories through my artwork about our LGBTIQI+ community. It is really important that I am part of telling stories about our area. It doesn’t matter who you are.
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras will keep elevating, supporting, and celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. We acknowledge all First Peoples of this land and their enduring connections to Country, knowledge, and stories. Our organisation is committed to keep working towards a society that is equal and respectful of everyone.