Awards & Achievements for Garry Purchase
Aboriginal Health Award
2017 Mental Health Artworks - Gosford
This is a piece about pride and empowerment. Pride in yourself. Pride in your heritage. Pride in the struggle. Pride in survival.
When I was a kid in the 80's.I was in fistfights nearly every day due to bullying and being racially harassed by other kids. I've been called every name under the sun, punched, kicked and spat at.
Being a little Koori kid back then was bloody hard and I can only imagine what it was like in the 1940's and 50's for my mother. My father who was white, was treated horribly by his own family for being with mum. I don't think his parents ever really accepted her or the social stigma attached to dating an Aboriginal. He was pretty much shunned by them for it.
My first real taste of racism was a harsh one and still burns in me now. I remember back when I was about six or seven, we were on holiday to Queensland.
It was a hot day and we stopped at a public pool. Dad walked in and when mum and I went to follow, the guy behind the gate refused us entry and point blank told us he didn't let "our kind" in and that we should "piss off somewhere else". He was openly racist and was bloody proud of it.
I just started crying. It took my dad, who was a big and powerfully built bloke to have a few words of reason with him to let us in.
That memory will stick with me until the day I die.
I was bloody angry for a long, long time.
I couldn't understand why it happened. Did I do something wrong? Was I not dressed right? Just why? It made no sense that someone could be treated like that purely based on skin colour. It hurt bad.
I look at my kids now. My two youngest boys are around the same age as I was then. Back then it was like carrying an unwanted burden. I just wanted to fit in and be normal.
Times have changed a lot since those days and I want them to be proud of their heritage, be proud of their Aboriginality and find inner strength and power in it.
I want them to embrace their culture and share it with others. They are taught to accept everyone regardless of where they're from. I don't want them to EVER be made to feel as I did.
Cultural ignorance and racism is unacceptable. Stand up against racism and be proud.
First Prize Tony Donovan Award - Gosford
2016 Reconciliation Art Competition - Gosford
UNDER THE SOUTHERN CROSS
We live in a beautiful country. From the ocean and beaches to the mountains, rivers and the red centre of the outback.
Yet we as Australians both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal can't seem to find a common ground to make things work and move forward. This is a common problem for First Nations people from all around the world.
Look up at the stars. The stars were there before us and they'll still be there long after we're gone.
They are the same stars our ancestors would have gazed upon thousands of years ago and they are also the ones future generations thousands of years from now will see.
Looking at the night sky is all it takes to put what we were, are and ever will be into perspective.
It highlights how insignificant and petty the separatist ideology of racial prejudice, segregation, class systems really are.
Localised thinking, not just here, but all over the world is our downfall. In the end none of that really matters. In the grand scheme of things we are ALL in it together on this lonely little planet as one race, the human race.
That is what needs to be realised. Enjoy the beauty of what we have, work together, don't take anything for granted and love each other.
Aboriginal Health Award
2016 Mental Health Artworks - Gosford
I was pretty much abandoned by my birth mother and incredibly abusive and violent birth father ( she gave birth to me while battered and unconscious from being bashed senseless by him.... I guess I'm lucky to be here at all! ) and was in various orphanages for the first few years of my life until I was incredibly lucky to be fostered and eventually adopted by an awesome loving and nurturing family.
Fast forward 30 odd years.... My birth mother who I never knew had had a stroke caused by alcoholism and eventually died back in the 80's and although I knew I had blood siblings ( I'm apparently the second youngest of nine ), I had never had any contact with them and quite frankly I was perfectly happy with my life how it was.
One day out of nowhere I receive a Facebook message from a woman who I realise is my sister and after a few emails we agree to meet and try and put some pieces of the shattered puzzle together.
Shortly afterwards we spent a few days together on a mini-holiday on a rural property with our families to get to know each other. The photo was taken on the verandah of that place. Its called Caloola Farm and its in the middle of nowhere in the A.C.T.
I was sitting there with my son Kobe. I had a million things going through my head. I was happy to be there but incredibly sad at the same time thinking of what's been lost. It dawned on me that I virtually knew nothing about who I really was and just trying to get my head around the whole situation.
The photo captured that and also the innocence of my son. He was only about 6 months old obviously had no idea as to how massive the moment was in regards to not only who I am, but also who he is.
Sadly the bonds formed there have been broken again and my journey continues now without them. I'm perfectly fine with that because this time it's different.
I know who I am.
My kids know who they are.
I am my own man and a proud Dharawal, Bidjigal & Dhungutti one at that!
I've broken the cycle and and am stronger for it.
Blood doesn't make family, love does.
First Prize Tony Donovan Award
2014 Reconciliation Art Competition - Gosford
Aboriginal Health Award & Peoples Choice Award
2013 Mental Health Art Works Exhibition - Gosford
This is my journey. It is a representation of my lifes path. It is an incomplete path all too familiar with those who have been adopted like myself or have grown up knowing very little about who they are.
To one side, your path is full with the life you have and everything you've come to know, but on the other side there is a dark void of unanswered questions and a massive missing piece of the puzzle of both who and what you are.