I had just taken this picture when I realized it could have been the symbol of my travel in Australia.

I was in Katherine, a little town of 7500 people considered the door of the Australian "Top End" in the Northern Territory, town that services a vast region of 400.000 km sq (almost the size of France).
It was a roasting day! The thermometer was reading 39° C (102°F!) and the humidity was exceeding 90%, literally a hell on Heart. I felt the WET in all its power. While I was waiting for the bus to Alice Springs I saw this man near to me. I looked at him, I looked at his face and I immediately decided to ask him the authorization to take a picture.

I said “I decided” because aboriginal people don't like to be photographed. In their culture taking a picture of a person is the equivalent of stealing a piece of his soul. Furthermore, after death, photos leave open the door with the land of the living, keeping alive the memory of dead people. Photography is completely against the aboriginal culture which states that they should not speak about dead people, that they should not say their names either. Despite that, they could accept to be photographed mostly because photography is seen as a way to show everyone in the world the way aboriginal people are treated by Europeans, as a spokesperson of their cause. It is more than enough remembering how their lands were usurped by the Europeans, how they were kept as slaves until 1965, and how they were entitled to vote only in 1967!

His answer to my question was "why do you want to take a picture of me?". I just replied that there was no reason, simply I had been fascinated by his face. At that point he asked again a question very unusual for an European man “May I look into your eyes? I want to “perceive” your intentions”.

He did it for less than 30 seconds, but they seemed to me an eternity. I stood up, just in front of him, frozen, wild-eyed, with the reflex camera in my hands, while his eyes were fastened on mine. His gaze was hypnotizing. Finally he smiled naturally and without saying a word posed like in the picture. I quickly looked through the viewfinder, focused and shot!




Rapresentative of an aboriginal community of the Kakadu travelling to keep the relations with other communities of the Northern Territory
Katherine (Australia) - the 23th october 2010

In the belief that moments of great creativity arise from multi art co-operations, and for this they should be always sustained and encouraged, I granted the Finnish artist Heidi Kuivaniemi-Smith the authorization to realize a portrait based on the picture above, for her project “FACES OF THE WORLD”. This is a very interesting work of forensic art which combines photography, drawing, multimedia and pure “wandering spirit”, aiming to highlight the differences in aspect and features of the mankind traveling around the world. The entire project in still in progress and visible @ the artist’s website .


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