A portrait of Docker River Lutheran Beryl Bell entitled ‘Beryl and Jesus’ has won this year’s $10,000 Australian Life photography prize.
Amy Jean Harding took the photo of Beryl at Big Sing in the Desert in April 2016. In her artist statement, Amy Jean said: ‘Beryl has been able to entwine the ancient Dreamtime with her devotion to Christianity. Here is a woman with the ability to walk in both worlds.’
Both women have attended the community choir workshops since 2012, but while Beryl travels from an isolated Indigenous desert community to be there, Amy Jean comes from the north coast of NSW. Their contrasting backgrounds epitomise Big Sing’s purpose – bringing people together from diverse locations and cultures through song.
The event is held at Ross River, 80 kilometres east of Alice Springs. Amy Jean attends to take photos and sing. ‘It’s such an incredible event and very moving’, she said.
Beryl is part of the event to sing Christian hymns in her own language. ‘Big Sing makes me feel happy because we can sing and dance with people from other parts of Australia’, she said.
Amy Jean has shared her $10,000 prize money with Beryl and Big Sing. ‘I want to be able to give back to the Indigenous community and this wonderful annual event’, she said.
If you would like to attend Big Sing 2018, go to: http://www.rachelhore.com/bigsing/