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lisa bellear

The collaborators would like to commemorate Lisa Bellear (1961 - 2006).

Lisa Bellear was a Goernpil woman of the Noonuccal people of Minjerribah (Stradbroke Island), Queensland. She was a poet, a photographer, an insightful commentator, an academic and broadcaster.

With regard to Rhapsody in Motion, her poetry and performance gave the disparate artistic elements cohesion and grounding. Lisa shared her warmth, humour and insightful knowledge at the many collaborative meetings of the artists involved. Lisa is sadly missed.


In Memoriam
Sydney Morning Herald

Poetry International Rotterdam

Australia Council


portrait of lisa
Photographer: Justin Bernhaut
RMIT Photography Student


Federation Statement
In 1901 the new Federation of Australian, deliberately excluded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders - why?

Always ways, always will be Aboriginal country.

In 2001, Australia, Australians, 'celebrate', 'commemorate', 100 years of Federation. This time Aboriginal and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are included in the festivities.

History, present, future
Where is this country headed, beyond the new millennium?

Human rights violations are still being perpetrated against us Kooris, Murris, Nuga’s, Noongals, Torres Strait Islanders.

Other people’s rights, lives, souls and minds are being abused in this country. What to do?

Federation ought to afford this country, yet another chance to reflect, but we must be honest.
There are solutions here and so are tears.

We must not lose focus: whose land?...

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portrait of lisa
Photographer: Justin Bernhaut
RMIT Photography Student

My research for this project highlights the lack of participation and input into the new Federal constitution. While there were a series of constitutional conventions, ultimately it was primarily white anglo men with resources, who designed the constitution. Where were the voices of Aboriginal people, women, young folk, rural Victorians? To redress this imbalance of voice and diversity, my intention is to create several pieces of dialogue identifying issues, which I believe, ought to be addressed. For example, I will have Koori voices from the Kulin Nation who will welcome the invaders, offer them reciprocal rights and contrast this with voices of Parliamentarians. I have no intentions of promoting stereotypes, rather will highlight our silenced voices (yet again). Primarily this work (as indeed all of my work) is about respect and giving voice to silenced, marginalised people.

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portrait of lisa
Photographer: Justin Bernhaut
RMIT Photography Student





portrait of lisa
Photographer: Justin Bernhaut
RMIT Photography Student

On Photography
I have been taking photographs for more than twenty years. I have a personal collection of more than six thousand images. And at any one given time I have at least eighty rolls of film that needs to be developed.

I believe that photographers ought to have ethics. My philosophy is to ask permission, before I take someone’s image. I also state that a copy of the image should be given to the person, relation or nominee. This is quite a daunting task because my photographs are of people from throughout Australia, North America and Thailand.

Primarily I document Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and our friends. I also photograph signs, pets, demonstrations, bands, poets, politicians, police officers, newspapers and landscapes.

Often I will write text to accompany the image.

In August 2001 I will have a solo exhibition at the new Melbourne Museum (Bunjilaka) titled, Reconciliation – bar humbug. I will display two thousand and one images and text. Please come along, listen, look and learn.

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Doctorate of Philosophy La Trobe University (current)
Masters in Creative Writing (Research) University of Queensland
Master of Arts (Women’s Studies) University of Melbourne
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Women’s Studies) University of Melbourne

Lisa Bellear’s articles have appeared in publications including Breaking Through Women, Work and Careers edited by Jocelynne Scutt, Artemis Press 1992; Australian Women’s Book Review; The Women’s Handbook (University of Melbourne); The Koori Mail. She has appeared as a guest and host on radio and television programmes.

A Selection of Published Poems
1996 Dreaming in Urban Areas, collection of poetry by Lisa Bellear, published UQP

The Shadow Cabinet, Permanent Press, 'Taxi'

Australian Author, ASA Journal, vol. 27; 'Empowerment'

Australia Feli X; 'Justice'

Purely Koori, University of Melbourne, 'The Rapist', 'Justice'; Samuca Blackboard Poems; 'Breathalyser'; Yuroke, University of Melbourne; 'Mother’s Day


Weddings and Wives, Edited by Dale Spender, Penguin Books; 'Chops ‘n Things'

Australian De Frauen, Susan Hawthorne/Renate Klein, Reise & Kultur, Frauenoffensive, Germany; 'Chop ‘n Things'

Australian Short Stories, No 46;
'Mother in Law'

Australian Multicultural Book Review, Vol. 2 1991

'Aboriginal Country', 'Cross My Heart', 'Spiritual Ruin'

Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association, No 3, 1994; 'Breathalyser', 'White Man Approval', 'Justice'


Koori Times, The Melbourne Koori News Magazine, No 1, 1993; 'Taxi' 'Hate Fuelled with Kerosene'

Australian Women’s Book Review, Vol. 5. 4 1993; 'Mr Don’t Scratch My Rolex', 'Tanna Man'

Ngariaty Kooris Talkin (magazine) La Trobe University 1993 'Tanna Man', 'The Promise', 'White Man Approval'

Perserverance Poets Collection, 1991-1992; 'Chops ‘n Things', 'White Man Approval' 'Christmas in Cuba'

Second Degree Tampering, Sybylla Press; 'Fashion Statement', 'Women’s Liberation, 'Package My Spirit'.

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