Nauru Diary - Sally McInerney Photography

Shown at Ginkgo Gallery, Glebe, May 2013


Unintended autobiographies can be read between the lines of certain handmade signs and notices. Concerning lost companions, transactions of labour, sex, food and unbroken horses, declarations of love, the memorialisation of self and others, they seem like private letters to the world, posted from shadow-caves on the fringe of public life.

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Birthday party for a 21 year-old

The Menen Hotel pool had been filled for the occasion. All day young women were sitting outside in the shade, painstakingly blowing up balloons to float in the pool. A hand-painted birthday banner was hung from a balcony, yellow chairs arrived in stacks. Unlike typical Australian 21st birthday parties, this was neither rowdy nor formal and included people of all ages. It seemed like a big celebratory get-together, especially when large platters of food appeared. The balloons floated gently in the pool, undisturbed, occasionally popping; small children ran around or sat on the edge with their feet in the water while older generations sat talking on the yellow chairs. Beyond the glowing scene, the long breakers rolled and sighed in the darkness. Earlier, lines of phosphorescence had briefly glittered on the waves. I thought of the way the land had slid into the sea thousands of years ago, forming Anibare Bay and giving the island its distinctive kidney-bean shape. All around the shore there’s evidence of smaller ancient landslips. I hoped it wouldn’t happen again that night.
6 November 2014