Nina robada

Eva Fernandez

Giclee print on Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl 310gsm mounted on aluminium

Niña robada is Spanish for 'stolen child'. New Norcia in WA was founded as a mission by Spanish Benedictine monks, led by Rosendo Salvado in 1847 to ‘christianise’ and ‘civilise’ local Aboriginal people. Salvado was seen as a sympathiser compared to the authorities that controlled Indigenous people. His progressive thinking and mostly compassionate ways were undermined after his death in 1900, as government intervention was to break down, segregate and institutionalise Aboriginal people. The mission became an orphanage to generations of Aboriginal children, forcibly removed from their families by the State government who assumed total control of their lives. These stolen generations of children suffered severe hardships and were subjected to cruel punishment, abuse, starvation and general lack of care and compassion. This image presents a young Aboriginal girl in European dress with her head shaved, one of the punishments for escaping from the mission. Although she has endured the harsh punishments and attempts of assimilation, she stares back stoically. She is a symbol of Aboriginal survival, resistance and revival.
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