A landmark exhibition at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art features digital stories created by young Aboriginal people from Richmond’s centre for Indigenous youth, the Korin Gamadji Institute.

The exhibition ‘Sovereignty’, which opened last Friday, includes work from 10 KGI alumni and is the culmination of the creative outcomes for the Australian Research Council Linkage Project Aboriginal Young People in Victoria and Digital Storytelling (2014-2017).

Jessica Rose Bennett is one of the KGI participants is exhibiting her work, alongside past and present Aboriginal artists.

As part of the project, Bennett and the KGI alumni attended annual workshops over three years.

“I didn’t accept my Aboriginality growing up and in about Year 9 a teacher suggested that I go on (the Richmond Emerging Aboriginal Leadership Program) – that I showed leadership skills and that it could really help me to develop my culture,” Bennett said.

“From there it’s really taken off.”

Bennett’s digital story explores her connection with her culture.

“My video is about connecting with culture when I haven’t grown up with it, and how I’ve connected with culture through the landscapes and how my grandfather taught me that,” she said.

“It’s a bit daunting to know something so personal is being seen by so many people but at the same time it’s really exciting that people can see it and hopefully young people will see it as well.”

Chamika Sadler’s digital story ‘Who are you and who do you think you are?’ also reflects on how she identifies as a young Aboriginal woman.

“It explored the significance of the question, relating it to who I thought I was,” Sadler said.

“I’m proud of (my work), that’s the best part.

“I’m happy I got to do it with the people I feel most comfortable around.”

Sadler was nominated by her school to attend the REAL Program in 2012 and she has been involved with the KGI ever since.

Richmond’s Indigenous Community Relations Officer, Luke Murray, said it was important young Aboriginal people shared their stories.

“It’s really important young people can have a say and tell their story,” Murray said.

“I think they’ve done a fantastic job, considering most of them had very little film making experience.”

The Sovereignty Exhibition is open until 26 March, 2017. For more information, click here.

The Aboriginal Young People in Victoria and Digital Storytelling project is an Australian Research Council Linkage Project. It is conducted in collaboration between the KGI and the University of Melbourne. Partners on the project include VicHealth, Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and SistaGirl Productions – an Indigenous production company based in Brunswick, Melbourne. Creative Victoria also provided funding for the project.