Jellybean Park

My locative literature contribution for the ‘Little Literature’ project, Microgalleries Nowra, was to create 5 small, coloured shapes that mirrored the distinctive paving shapes incorporated into the new park design, and insert into them some poignant statements made by Aboriginal people about their sense of place and displacement. (We were permitted to write creative non fiction as well as fiction).

colours laid
Photo- Shoalhaven City Council

I included a well known children’s prayer called the ‘jellybean prayer’ as a reference to the forthright religious beliefs underpinning government policies that have displaced first Australians since the arrival of Europeans in 1788, most notably, the Stolen Generations. Two lines of that poem in particular, capture the essence of the statement I’m aiming to make:

Black is for the sins we made,

White is for the grace He gave

Those lines can be interpreted in a number of ways and I think the innocence of the children’s poem itself echoes the naivety of those policies quite nicely.

In my earlier post about Egan’s lane, I mention two phrases or concepts that I was hoping to get across somehow: out of sight, out of mind; and black and white. Our brief was to write something as small in size as possible, that incorporated the theme of each location (connect), its people and a sense of place. I don’t know if I’ve done that and I know this piece won’t be received well (or understood) by everyone but I’m glad that I did have the chance to respond to my first reaction when I came across the redeveloped park, which was ‘What a shame’.

Click here to see the piece