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Eurovision: Moving Indigenous Australia into the world’s line of vision

Jessica Mauboy’s performance is a win for the nation finally delving into the riches of Indigenous talent, writes Julia Readett.

Whenever Australia is given the opportunity to present themselves ‘as a nation’ to the world, there is a certain formula that can be observed. In the 2000 Sydney Olympics, 200 ‘stockmen’ galloped down the stage on horseback, brandishing the Australian flag, Driz-a-bones billowing in the nationalistic breeze. Royals and touring international celebrities are showered with Surf Life-Saver caps and RM Williams paraphernalia.

A vast majority of the films shot in Australia have involved a generous dose of colonialist imaginaries of Aboriginal land, Anzac ‘legends’ and, to be frank – white people problems. All the while, a wealth of Indigenous landscapes and cultures lay unexposed, uncelebrated and unacknowledged.

This year, Australia was given an opportunity to perform as a nation in the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest. While Bondi Rescue wannabes, AFL players and tradies flittered about, Darwin born, Jessica Mauboy graced the Eurovision stage and commanded the attention of our national (and international) space, filling the soundscape with her incredible voice as she sang ‘Sea of Flags’. Her performance at Eurovision is said to be the biggest performance of her life, according to SBS, performing to over 125 million viewers across Europe and, of course, the 2.3 million fans in Australia. Regardless of whether you’re a fan of the quirky, outrageous and fabulous performances Eurovision offers, Jessica Mauboy’s journey to Eurovision is both moving and significant for Australia’s First People and the representation of our national identity.

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