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My journey from suit to skin

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As my Aunty placed the possum skin cloak over me, I experienced a profound “inner experience” of cultural healing and connection. Wearing the cloak as part of the Wrapture project ( restored an aspect of cultural traditional practice. It touched me holistically, creating a sense of healing, spiritual connection, belonging and identity.1

The project was a photographic exhibition for Aboriginal women of the Hunter region in New South Wales, facilitated by my cousin.2 She gathered close members of the family at my Aunty’s house to help her search for women to participate. Within a 9-week time frame, over 130 Aboriginal women wearing the possum skin cloak were photographed, capturing the first few moments of cultural revival connection. The project served as a platform for a dialogue on “women’s business” (traditional cultural practice exclusive to Indigenous women) and, within a few months, 64 Aboriginal women were included in the exhibition which was launched at the Wollotuka Institute at the University of Newcastle in NSW. The significance for me is that before Western influence, we were all born with a possum skin cloak or other cloaks such as kangaroo skin that grew in size with us, just as a child grows…