facebook youtube instagram



31.03.2009 - 31.05.2009

In 2002, after accepting the invitation of the Martu—the Aboriginals of the Western desert region—New Zealander Megan Lewis went to live for five years in the Great Sandy Desert with the original Australians. As the result of this privileged experience she presented this work, Conversations with the Mob, which won the Walkley Award and a Photographers’ Choice Award.

The Martu consists of around 850 members that are divided between four communities in a desert region of 136,000 km². The Aborigines move between their old world and a new, white one, uncomfortably in-between. One of their greatest worries is that almost every week one of their community dies from bad diet, diabetes, high blood pressure, alcoholism, suicide. Emotional, mental, spiritual and cultural conditions lead to it. Many of them travel hundreds of kilometres for a funeral and this also expresses their restlessness. It was a tragic event of this nature that changed the perception and acceptance of Lewis in the community. At the beginning of November 2002 two members of the Martu did not return to a previously agreed meeting point after a hunt. After a search lasting days and acting on an inspiration that Megan Lewis had, they were found dead. These events altered the relationship between the white woman and the Australian aboriginals. Megan Lewis was no longer a photo journalist, an outsider. From now on she was a friend of the Martu and a woman with spiritual powers. The special relationship of the two parties to each other is reflected in the Megan Lewis’ profound work. During it she enters into a dialogue with the Martu and allows the photographs and thoughts of the community on alcohol, grieving, football, humour, relationships, sexual abuse, health, spiritual powers etc. talk to each other. In this way she reflects the everyday lives and problems of the original inhabitants of Australia. 

For the first time outside Australia, WestLicht is presenting this powerfully expressive and narrative work.

PLEASE NOTICE: Due to the 15th WestLicht Photographica Auction the exhibition will be closed on 22nd and 23rd May 2009. Thank you for your understanding!

© Megan Lewis, Martu Stammesälterster Timmy Patterson in seinem Zuhause in Jigalong
© Megan Lewis, Jagd nach Buschtruthähnen in Parnngurr
© Megan Lewis, Nyniyika „Catherine“’ Biljabu sucht nach Larven. Cathrines Tochter Levina und ihr Baby Shakira kommen für die Jagd aus Parnngurr vorbei
© Megan Lewis, Alanna Jackman, Elliot Sammy und ihre Mutter, Jennifer Gibbs, reisen in Martu Style
© Megan Lewis, Robert Marney’s Begräbnis. Robert war 20 Jahr alt und starb an den Folgen von Alkoholmissbrauch. Nach der Martu Tradition dürfen die Eltern und unmittelbaren Verwandten nicht am Begräbnis teilnehmen, sie bleiben im „sorry camp“ der Gemeinschaft