Ancient Ways of Modern Aboriginals, 2013
Students wait to perform the opening ceremony for a festival that brings together Aboriginal tribes from all over Australia to share and celebrate their culture. White clay paint adorns the bodies and hair of the boys in the foreground, while in the background red facial marks and green attire stand out. About 21 percent of Australia’s estimated 670,000 indigenous people live in remote areas. It is in these ancestral homelands where connection to the land remains strong and their culture has endured.
“I like this image because these boys are all painted distinctly,” Toensing says. “The way that they’re painted represents which skin group they’re in, which represents how they are related to their culture and their identity. At the same time, this group is actively speaking their own language in school, which is really powerful.”