Authors: Duncan Smith and Nicole Godwin
Paintings by: Jandamarra Cadd
Publisher: Wild Dog Books
Publication date: August 2023
Teachers’ Notes: Available on the Wild Dog Books website here
From the creators who produced We Are Australians comes Listen, masterfully and powerfully written by Duncan Smith and Nicole Godwin with breathtaking and joyous paintings by Jandamarra Cadd and published by Wild Dog Books. This book invites readers to listen to the knowledge, stories and truth telling about Australia’s history from the oldest living culture in the world. It highlights that First Peoples are connected to thousands of generations before them and their ancestors continue to guide First Peoples today. Such a long history of deep connections to the past is unprecedented and a unique privilege for Australians, one that affords the opportunity, and more than that, the responsibility, to listen and connect to the voices from the past. This is vital in understanding Australia’s true history of colonisation, dispossession, two hundred and fifty years of marginalisation, oppression and recognise the enduring strength of First Nations peoples in order to reconcile to work towards a better future.
Sparse text is used empowering the reader to deeply think about not only the importance of listening but the power and beauty in doing so. This also allows readers to make their own personal connections to the text and serves as a gateway to conversations, reflections and further inquiry about Australia’s history, First Peoples rich connections to ancestors, Country and culture.
This book guides readers in ways that they can actively hear the voices from the past – listen to Elders, Dreaming stories, First Peoples talking about Treaty and learn about Culture and Country through songs and dances. This has great benefits for the future, including dispelling untruths and gaining education about the world’s oldest continuous living cultures which increases capacity for stronger relationships between First Peoples and non-First Peoples, essential for reconciliation.
Yorta Yorta and Dja Dja Warung descendant, Jandamrra Cadd has once again created sublime paintings for this book that deserve to be savoured. He combines traditional Aboriginal art techniques with contemporary portraiture to produce striking paintings that add another layer to the text. They are imbued with symbolism, joy and hope. The back matter features Jandamarra Cadd’s inspiration for some of the paintings.
This stunning book is a must have for every collection. One that gently shares the profound benefits that can be derived from listening to the voices of First Nations People to learn from them, connect with them and better understand Australia’s true history.