‘Lit’ is a 15 minute video work that evolved out of a need to address the lack of representation of women of colour in Australian mainstream media, film and TV through a collaboration between Australian Solomon Islander filmmaker Amie Batalibasi and South Sudanese actress Nyawuda Chuol.
Initially created to be projected on a wall in residential Footscray, Melbourne, we see a young South Sudanese woman, always front and centre in the frame, walking through Melbourne’s CBD past significant landmarks like Flinders St, Federation Square, the Arts Centre. As she moves through buildings, crowds, shopping centres, her image is juxtaposed with captions via a social media feed that unapologetically declares her thoughts on culture, family, relationships, community, politics and black womanhood. Long takes are intercut with segments of speed and slow motion as she navigates through her environment, space and time, revealing moments of vulnerability (‘Words alone cannot express the hurt I feel’) and moments of power (‘My black is beautiful. My black is South Sudanese’). At times we observe, until her gaze is directed straight down the barrel at the audience.
‘Lit’ sets out to disrupt the narrative through an exploration of identity, race, perceptions, gaze and the politics of the black body.
• West Projections Festival, Melbourne, October 2016.
• Melbourne Women in Film Festivals, March 2017.