‘No Names, Just Numbers’

Media release - 24 April 2013

The Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation, in partnership with the Kempsey Dunghutti-Ngaku (DNAAG) Aboriginal Art Gallery and Kempsey Library, is hosting the exhibition No Names, Just Numbers from Friday 3 May. The aim of the exhibition is to create a space for the silenced stories of what it was like to grow up in the Kinchela Boys Home at South West Rocks.

The Kinchela Boys Home at South West Rocks was a place of residence for between 400 and 600 Aboriginal boys who were forcibly removed from their families to spend their childhoods in this institution.

No Names, Just Numbers is an account of the history of the Kinchela Boys Home and the deeply personal stories of the inmates as a shared history.

The exhibition takes shape around a series of photographic portraits by Sydney artist/photographer Sarah Barker, which document some of the former inmates of the Kinchela Boys Home and introduce the adult survivors who lived in the home between 1924 and 1970.

The exhibition includes a short film, artworks, historical photographs, family snapshots, sporting achievements and various memorabilia about the boys lives and their involvement in the Kempsey community. It reveals both the boys engagement with, as well as their separation from, the local community.

The images and objects included provide an intimate window for the audience to ‘see’ as another does and to safely experience another’s perspective. The Kinchela Men are getting older and there is an urgency to join together to listen to their stories, and to have these stories told by the men themselves. In the face of extreme and unimaginable adversity, they are simply asking for understanding and acceptance. The exhibition will provide the rare occasion to start a conversation and facilitate empathy and understanding between and within communities.

No Names, Just Numbers is presented by the Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation, in partnership with the Kempsey Dunghutti-Ngaku (DNAAG) Aboriginal Art Gallery and Kempsey Library.

The exhibition may be viewed from Saturday 4 May until Friday 31 May Tuesday to Sunday at the two venues of DNAAG and Kempsey Library. DNAAG is located at South Kempsey Park, Lachlan Street, South Kempsey, and is open Tuesday to Sunday between 10:00am and 4:00pm (closed Mondays). Kempsey Library is located at the Civic Centre, Elbow Street, West Kempsey, and is open Monday to Friday from 10:00am to 6:00pm and on Saturday from 10:00am to 1:00pm.

For all enquiries please contact Kempsey Library on 6566 3210.

(Patrons who attend are respectfully advised that this exhibition contains images of people who have passed away.)