Excerpt: ‘The Classroom’, by Eugenia Flynn


Photo by Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office. Repoduced under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License


Laughter, anger, annoyance. These are all the different ways I grew out of feeling embarrassed about others’ fear of the unknown.

Maybe White Australia can take a leaf out of my book? I moved past embarrassment years ago, made fat with pride from a steady diet of art made by Aboriginal people. Tiddas, Christine Anu, Ian Abdulla, Bangarra, Warwick Thornton, Kunyi McInerney; I am forever shaped by the lyrics of the song ‘We Have Survived’ by No Fixed Address, inspired by the crafting of Kim Scott’s words in Benang, haunted by the poems—the life and death—of Robert Walker.

If I imagine myself sitting cross-legged in that same classroom—I’m me now, but they are still them then—the memory changes, and I can fantasise that the pride from a thousand art works and performances fuels my resistance. They laugh, and there I am: a little black duck with water running off its back.

This piece appears in full in The Lifted Brow #28: The Art Issue. Get your copy here.

Eugenia Flynn frequently writes on the politics of race, religion, identity, gender and culture. She has been published widely and on her blog Black Thoughts Live Here.