Bindi Cole Chocka is an award winning, resilient and ingenious Melbourne-born photographer, curator, new media artist and writer who speaks compellingly through her photographs, videos, installations and writing. Chocka’s work often references her life story and experiences, such as her Wadawurrung heritage, the importance of Christianity in her life, and the impact of politics, the law and other power structures on her lived experience and that of her family and community. Her deeply personal and powerful artistic practice questions the way people circumscribe and misconstrue contemporary identity and experience.
In 2010, Chocka was listed as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Melbourne. Since her first solo show in 2007, Chocka’s work has been widely exhibition in solo and group exhibitions including the National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of NSW, Museum of Contemporary Art, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, National Portrait Gallery, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (Brooklyn, USA), Museum of Contemporary Art (Taiwan). Her work is held in various collections across the world. Chocka lives and works in Melton, Victoria, Australia.
1.WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING
“Chocka's Wolf in sheep’s clothing series, 2013 explores the tension between Christianity and Aboriginality, a conflict between two different understandings that has resulted in horrendous acts of violence and cultural silencing. Cole has been profoundly changed by the revelation of Jesus but she struggles with the notion that so many ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ ran missions in Victoria that, in the name of god, participated in the decimation of culture and language. The legacy of this difficult history, a long-standing resentment for the atrocities committed under the banner of Christianity, lingers in the Victorian Aboriginal community and throughout the world.” Judith Ryan, Senior Curator, Indigenous Art, National Gallery of Victoria.
2.SEVENTY TIMES SEVEN, 2011, HD Video, 10:22 mins.
Seventy Times Seven is a single channel video of seven Australian Aboriginal community members repeating the mantra, I forgive you.
Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. It is a release from the burden of anger and pain. When you choose to forgive, you choose to live in the present and the future instead of the past. It does not mean to forget but it does mean to release and go on.
I was a very broken person. When I look around at my community, the Aboriginal community, I see a lot of broken people. For me to stop being disempowered by the people and events in my life, my parents and my ancestors’ lives, I had to forgive. Forgiveness is the way to reclaim power lost. It doesn't happen on it's own, you must choose to forgive.
Everyone in this film is Aboriginal. We are choosing to forgive. Mercy is for those who don’t deserve it.