Taroom, QLD, February 2024
Wendy: I feel like I've had a life where I haven't had to make many sacrifices. It’s because Grandad made all the sacrifices. He was the one who went to the First World War and suffered there and got mustard gassed and came back to make a wonderful life in Toowoomba, where he became a builder. And because of his sacrifices and because he didn't want us to be stolen, because they were still stealing children in the 60s, he made the sacrifice of not telling us about his heritage.
Susan: And it's just such a shame, isn't it? Because of his sacrifice, we've missed out on our Indigenous culture. We've only just found out 10 years ago that we're even Indigenous. It's such a shame that we weren't able to grow up with our culture. We're having to learn it now. But it's good, isn't it, that we have found it.
Wendy: We didn't know our relatives either. Since we’ve found them, they've told us many interesting stories.
Susan: When we did find them, it was just beautiful, wasn't it. We all cried. It was almost like we were welcome back into the tribe as if nothing had happened. And it really inspired us to move forward with our arts and our culture and to learn more about it. I like to do a lot of paintings with connections to fire, because to the indigenous people, fire is really important. That's what a lot of our art is about.
Wendy: I enjoy doing paintings on stories. They don't always have to be horrific, mind-blowing stories, but just to pass on maybe what our tribe did through certain times.
Susan: A lot of people are unaware that our tribe was massacred. They say up to 3,000 Iman people may have been massacred. And then the rest were dislocated from their land. A lot of them ran into towns. Some of them were sent to Bundulla, then to Woorabinda. We think we've made a lot of sacrifices because we haven't had the culture, but they had to totally give up their identity. It would be really nice if finally, indigenous Australians could talk about what really happened, not what happened in history books, but what really happened when everything was taken away from them. Then there may be reconciliation, which would be really lovely. I hope it's in my lifetime.
Wendy: I don't think it will be, somehow. I think they'll still continue to suffer.
Susan: We don't always agree, do we?
Wendy: No, we don’t!

Wendy and Susan are twins, visual artists and proud Iman women.
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