Kent Morris

Barkindji people, New South Wales

karta-kartaka (pink cockatoo) was recently added to the national threatened species list. Ongoing threats to their existence include the loss of existing and future hollow-bearing trees for nesting due to land clearing, and a lack of feeding areas and regeneration as a result of heavy grazing by invasive species on Country. 

A pink cockatoo in a hollow tree is part of the two Ngatyi (Rainbow Serpents) creation story as told by senior storyteller, Alf Barlow (c. 1888–1961). This story recounts how our Country was formed by two rainbow serpents travelling, which is deeply significant to Barkindji people and our culture. 

As Major Thomas Mitchell (1792–1855) was involved in atrocities towards Barkindji people and other First Nations people, particularly the 1836 massacre at Mount Dispersion (now called the Mount Dispersion Massacre Site Aboriginal Place), we refrain from using the more common name associated with this bird. 

This series is constructed from photographic images taken at Mutawintji that have been transformed from the single-point perspective of a camera’s eye to an immersive, kaleidoscopic network of patterns inspired by First Nations cultural knowledge systems. 

The repeating patterns speak of infinity through a First Nations’ lens that views animals, humans, land, plants, sea and sky as interconnected and interdependent throughout time. They represent moments of transformation, of deep time cultural forms reinforcing ancestry, sovereignty and the undeniable wisdom and knowledge of millennia. 

Capturing moments of clarity in the warm clear air on Barkindji Country provides a space to think and reflect, a First Nations experiential mindset of sitting respectfully, listening to and seeing Country together and individually. Being part of a silent Ancestral system of sustainability and strength.

Easy read

karta-kartaka (pink cockatoo) is part of the two Rainbow Serpents creation story of our Barkindji Country. I use repeating patterns to share a First Nations way of seeing the world — animals, humans, land, plants, sea and sky are connected to each other and depend on each other to be sustainable, healthy and strong.