Barbara, Redfern Aboriginal tent embassy

I’ve been visiting the Redfern aboriginal tent embassy from time to time through the winter. The embassy was established in May 2014 by Jenny Munro, who was also involved with the tent embassy in Canberra from 1972. The aim of the Redfern embassy is to ensure that affordable housing for aboriginal people is maintained in the area; the development plan provides for 62 residential dwellings (many fewer than existed before), alongside commercial development, although apparently the funding for the affordable housing is not guaranteed. This site is also known as The Block, which has a very long term connection to aboriginal communities in Sydney. It was also known for significant drug problems before the area was cleared out and the buildings condemned some years ago. I’ve met and photographed a lot of people who moved from here to other parts of Redfern and Waterloo.

I decided to take along a light and make lit portraits, mainly of people who are staying here long term. They plan to block development until there is an undertaking to provide more affordable housing.  A number of physical attacks on embassy residents have been reported to police.