By Museum of Freedom and Tolerance
Boorloo Justice, Cole Baxter & Community Arts Network (CAN)
Boorlooo Justice is a grassroots organisation run by First Nations and POC youth that are campaigning the Black Lives Matter Movement in Western Australia. The group is passionate about activism and reconnecting with community in an intersectional and inclusive way.
Boorloo is a Noongar word for the stolen land we now call Perth, Western Australia.
“It’s not white versus black – it’s all of us against racism.” – Boorloo Justice
Always Was, Always Will Be V (2020) by Cole Baxter and Boorloo JusticeMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance
Anesu from Boorloo Justice
Boorloo Justice responded to the international outrage over the killing of American man George Floyd, in May 2020, by organising Black Lives Matter rallies in Perth.
The protests highlighted Australia’s shameful record of black deaths in custody.
There have been 432 black deaths in custody since 1991 and no convictions.
Day of Demonstration
After a tumultuous year that started with devastating bushfires, followed by a global pandemic, anti-racism protests and a contentious United States election, Perth based cultural organisation Community Arts Network (CAN) held a Day of Demonstration to bring artists and community workers together to reflect on 2020.
CAN approached Boorloo Justice to share their protest skills at a workshop dedicated to art and activism. We called it I’m so angry, I made a sign.
Always Was, Always Will Be IV (2020) by Cole Baxter and Boorloo JusticeMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance
Under the gentle steerage of activists Jamie Simcock and Anesu Zimm from Boorloo Justice, Day of Demonstration participants were stepped through the process of putting paint to cardboard to make a sign with impact.
"This is just a start. We're some kick-ass youth activists and we're so excited to just get out there, spread our voices and just show people what the young people in Australia are going to do." – Boorloo Justice.
The Power of Protest
Sign making is a form of self expression. It’s putting all your emotions and feelings onto a sign and holding it with a sense of self, support and solidarity. It is telling your own narrative and perspective. It’s a small blip of all your feelings, into a few words.
Coming together in protest creates a sense of community and strength. It goes against the colonial values of divide and conquer - coming together to achieve greatness and having a shared goal is the most pure act of passionate defiance.
Black Lives Matter I (2020) by Cole Baxter and Boorloo JusticeMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance
Always Was, Always Will Be II (2020) by Cole Baxter and Boorloo JusticeMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance
Choose Eco Not Ego (2020) by Cole Baxter and Boorloo JusticeMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance
I'm So Angry I Made a Sign (2020) by Cole Baxter and Boorloo JusticeMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance
Workshop: Make Your Own Protest Sign
What you need
1. Cardboard of any size, shape or colour (hold onto those recycled boxes!)
2. Acrylic paint
3. A cause and a bit of tenacity
Step 1: Consider your cause
Think about what's important to you and, most importantly, why. Consider any key messaging from the campaign you're supporting - but get creative.
Step 2: Construct your message
Craft a direct, catchy tagline, and paint it onto your sign. Think about different ways to approach your message. You can use puns and humour - brainstorm ideas with your friends. Or, look for pop culture references and any slogans or chants that already form part of the campaign or movement you're protesting for. Or, you might want to make your sign more confronting, using hard statistics or evocative quotes or images. Use hashtags to spread the message further and help others connect.
Step 3: Make it visible
Think about how to make your sign as visible as possible - it needs to be bold, eye-catching, iconic. You can use colour, imagery or other decoration (like glitter!) to make your sign stand out.
All images by photographer Cole Baxter. Cole is a Noongar man with connections to Wilman & Goreng Boodja. He specialises in portrait photography in low and natural light. Born and raised on Whadjuk Boodja, Cole pays respects to the original people of the Derbarl Yerrigan when shooting on Whadjuk Boodja.
The I'm so angry I made a sign... workshop was facilitated by Jamie Simcock and Anesu Zimm from youth-led activist group Boorloo Justice.
Day of Demonstration was organised by Community Arts Network (CAN) in partnership with the Museum of Freedom and Tolerance.