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NEW SETTLERS documents the diversity of people who immigrate to Australia, and defies the prejudice and stereotyping embedded in parts of society. It is common in media coverage to play on fear in the community and demonize boat people.
What does Australia look like? What is the face of Australia today? Who are the people that now make up the Great South Land that fascinated explorers and attracted them, in their tiny boats, to venture forth to a new continental country?
Louise Whelan has captured images of migrants—from those who have lived in this country for forty years to those freshly arrived as refugees. Her photographic technique is an honest one. It is not contrived. Rather it seeks to capture the here and now. She honours the reality of her subjects as human beings who trust her to present them accurately and truthfully to those who look at their faces.
Some are shown in churches, mosques and temples, at cemeteries or on spiritual occasions. Others are shown in family circumstances. Still others are revealed at work or at play. Through all the images emerges a vision of the new Australia that we hope will become an inspiration and good example for other countries that still battle old racial, ethnic and cultural animosities.
When placed together, the images Louise has taken form an intimate, composite snapshot of the new, multicultural Australia to which few are fortunate enough to have access. To capture it, Louise has gained the trust of many people who generously welcomed her to their homes, schools, community events and places of worship. She knows how privileged she has been.