Boe Spearim

Listen to the stories of Boe Spearim who is a holder of cultural song and dance in Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales.

I’ve grown up understanding the importance of culture, which I think is a political aspect within itself, and the fact that we do it, we express it in all different settings is the biggest political statement which could be said within this country. My parents come from a generation where if they were born with lighter skin, they were stolen. If they spoke language, they were locked up. My generation and the generation older, we sort of – there was this culture revolution and understanding where it was sort of coming back into play more so often now.

I’ve got a daughter now and I’m always – me and my partner are always singing and trying to stuff as much language into her. She’s only 15 months and it’s mostly just all blurry words to her at the moment. I didn’t really have that as much growing up as well. I guess if I can sort of instil more of an understanding in culture into her than what I had, then that’s our part in combatting and dismantling the effects of colonialism on her.

13 July 2018

I remember having meetings in one of the rooms in QPAC [Queensland Performing Arts Centre] with the dancers in the lead-up to it just sort of discussing how the night is going to look and certain people wanting to say, “Who’s going first? Who’s going last?” or what the run sheet or the order is. I guess these things always come into play. People have egos and these things, but then on the night, like I said, you wouldn’t think that it was.

One, because I guess that’s a show aspect side of it, but then also it’s the cultural and the responsibility side of it as well. Once we’re ochred up or once we’re painted up and once we’ve got our lap-laps and once we’re on that sand and ready to dance, I guess those things go out the window and its sort of that responsibility that we have one, to share, one, to perform, but then also one to continue those to and with respect as well.

13 July 2018
photo Mick Richards 2018