Tamara and Paige
By Chris Hook
Tamara Silva, 11, was surprised when she discovered that she and her friend Paige Ferguson, 11, had won the youth section of the Freedom Ride 2001 poster competition
with their work Girls 2017 Black and Proud.
Then she raced over to Paige’s house to tell her.
“I was proud,” said Tamara. “There were heaps of older people (in the competition).”
ride 2001 poster competition, which was sponsored by the South Sydney, Woollahra, Leichhardt, Randwick, Botany Bay, Waverley and Marrickville councils, invited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists living,
working or studying in any of the seven municipalities to submit poster designs for Reconciliation Week 2001.
The Freedom Ride theme was chosen to honour the work of the late Dr Charles Perkins in
highlighting racial discrimination in regional areas during the 1960s.
Dr Perkins, who died last year, initiated the Freedom Ride in 1965 when he and a busload of supporters travelled through rural NSW with
members of the media to highlight instances of racial segregation.
And segregation was a theme that Tamara and Paige reflected with their poster, showing three people of different ethnic origins standing in
front of a swimming pool.
“People on the Freedom Ride weren’t allowed to go into the swimming pool,” Tamara said.
Paige and Tamara said the poster celebrated the fact that people today believe in
equality for everyone and can respect differences without being scared by each other. The poster also features the Sydney Harbour Bridge and a reference to the Walk for Reconciliation to show that Australians want
to work together. The Aboriginal flag is represented to demonstrate that the girls are “black and proud” and should not forget where they came from.
Although the poster was a collaborative effort between the
two Our Lady of Mt Carmel students, it was Tamara who began the project. But when the day came to finish it and enter it into the competition she was sick, so Paige had to complete it.
Paige said taking over
the project wasn’t too difficult. “It just felt natural,” she said.
And what do the girls want to do with this inherent artistic ability when they grow up?
“I want to be an Aboriginal elder, so I can
help other Aboriginal people,” said Tamara.
“I want to be a dancer or an actress … or a relief teacher,” she said.