Disabled. Black. Woman. Pride – by Mike Mort


You best believe I am getting the above logo on a t-shirt! Mike Mort creates ‘SUPER ACCESSIBILITY LOGOS’, fun variations of the international accessibility logo inspired by comic book, film, television, video-game and pop-culture icons.

Here is some information on Mike from his site: “Mike Mort is a 25-year-old blogger and wheelchair-user, living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He believes deeply in intersectional social justice and ending all forms of oppression. Disabled activism is a major passion and personal cause in his everyday life. With this blog, Mike hopes to educate others about ableism and promote the equality and understanding of all disabled and chronically ill individuals.”

Click on the image above – Black Wonder-Woman (Pride) – to go to his blog. Love that he has a STELLA YOUNG quote on his masthead. I truly miss her; and am only now developing the proud ‘crip’ moxy that she departed this earth with at the tender age of 32. It has taken me a decade to truly understand this, but Stella taught me that pride is not about ego for disabled people… it is about dignity and valuing ourselves – and our bodies – in a world that affords us neither dignity nor value.

Disability pride (like Black pride and LGBTQI pride) is therefore a revolutionary tool, a paradigm shifter in a world that marginalises us physically, culturally and institutionally everyday – which can be demoralising in the extreme. As a Black Woman in a white settler colony, I can physically go into most spaces, but know I will often have to deal with misogynoir once I get in there; however, as a Disabled Black Woman, I am frequently prevented from even entering the building. Most public spaces are inaccessible to me. And when I do get in, I know – from years of experience – that I will have to deal with cultural ableism along with racist misogyny at some point (and classism, ableism related to mental illness, et cetera.)

Black Disability Pride in the face of all of this is not an indulgence, it is essential; a way of affirming our humanity and right to exist without the barriers that society erects against us, whether maliciously or not. And since disability forces an extreme and painful type of marginalisation very few of my Black friends (let alone other lighter skinned people of colour) understand, it is up to me to fight my battles alone. So I will stare at the above logo whenever I need a reminder to be my own damn hero.

Love you Stella – I know you hated the concept of being an “inspiration”, but you have inspired me to grow a pair and be unwavering when it comes to speaking up for others, and for myself (something I have hitherto been tremendously shit at doing), in the face of pervasive ableist marginalisation/discrimination. You encouraged me to do so five years ago, and I am finally doing it. I am certain you would be mighty pleased about that.


Stella Mag Blog.

A few of my posts so far up on the Stella Mag blog:

Jennifer Food Show

Café Niugini

Jennifer Baing-Waiko has channelled her passion for preserving traditional food systems knowledge into a fantastic new show ‘Cafe Niugini’.

Julia tatu

Reviving & Protecting Melanesian Tattoo

Julia Mage’au Gray reflects on the joys & challenges of reviving & protecting traditional tattoo designs in a globalised world.

Ella Mask

Afrobetty Mask Making Workshops

PNG-Australian artist & educator Ella Benore Rowe invites you to explore identity & healing through her mask making workshops.

Mothers Day post

Giving life to those who give life

Childbirth death is still alarmingly high in PNG. Today we look at one way we can improve maternal care for our mothers.

Grace Dlabik

Grace Dlabik & The Social Studio

As Managing Director of GiDi Creative, Papua New Guinean-Austrian entrepreneur Grace Dlabik is using her talents for social good.


Read these and other interesting posts on the Stella Mag blog HERE. Subscribe to the print magazine HERE. It’s really, really good 🙂

I will post some substantial essays here on ‘Just the Messenger‘ soon. Nothing much to report right now: writing, screenwriting, learning and living simply, as usual.

I hope you are well.

Issue 12 of Stella Magazine – & my article in Issue 13

Issue 12 of Stella Magazine is on sale now! List of Stella Magazine stockists here.

Subscriptions are available for residents in PNG, Australia, New Zealand, Asia/Pacific and the Rest of the World. Subscribe here for your chance to WIN.

And stay in the loop by liking Stella Magazine on Facebook here.

After a year-long article writing hiatus, I wrote a piece for the next issue of Stella Magazine, Issue 13 – a profile on Nattali Rize, Petra Rumwaropen and Lea Rumwaropen of the band Blue King Brown, and their relationship to the struggle for human rights in West Papua. Blue King Brown use their music to raise awareness in their audiences about the cause – a very personal one for the Rumwaropen sisters, who came to Australia as political refugees.

In addition, all three women live their politics and values in their day-today lives. We talked music, family, faith, the magic of performance, global resistance and freedom. It was a pleasure to interview them.

So make sure you grab a copy of that one too 🙂

One Rebel, All Rights Reserved.

One Rebel, All Rights Reserved.


Stella Mag Issue 12

Issue 11 of Stella Magazine on sale now!

It’s been a while since I posted on Stella Magazine – publication went on hiatus for personal reasons, but publishing has resumed and Issue 11 is on sale now – covergirl is Naomi Bukalidi!

List of stockists here.

Online subscriptions are available for residents in PNG, Australia, New Zealand, Asia/Pacific and the Rest of the World.

Subscribe here for your chance to WIN.

And stay in the loop by liking Stella Magazine on Facebook here.

Previous issue’s cover – Issue 10:


Issue 8 of Stella Magazine on sale now!

HOT OF THE PRESS:  current issue of Stella MagazineList of stockists here.

Online subscriptions available for residents in PNG, Australia, New Zealand, Asia/Pacific and the Rest of the World.

Subscribe here for your chance to WIN!

And stay in the loop by liking Stella Magazine on Facebook here.

Working on some new articles and projects! Evolution continues in 2014 🙂

New Just the Messenger posts on Mandela, Deep Sea Mining, changes to the Racial Discrimination Laws and Violence Against Women coming up. As well as long overdue instalments of ethical consumption, bathroom detox, and conscious living. Stay tuned.



Interested in the arts, crafts, supporting hard-working creative people & community oriented, gutsy, ‘outside the box’ projects? Well. Here is a fledgling team of volunteers – and creative hub – worthy of your support.

COLOUR BOX STUDIO is a community creative hub in Footscray, Melbourne. It operates as a multi-functional pop up creative space that aims to support and showcase Melbourne’s creative community. Its programming changes month to month to display a diverse range of artists, art-forms and creative people through pop up shops, exhibitions, events, workshops and more. Colour Box Studio is located at 236 Nicholson Street, Footscray – check them out, and they’ll give you a tour.

I wrote about Colour Box Studio’s Back Story and magnificent manifestation/inception HERE, and their successful Fashion Month Program HERE. If you need further convincing of the vision, determination and raw gutsiness of director Amie Batalibasi and her Colour Box Studio Cohorts, go back and have a read. Seriously. These bright young things are brilliant. (NOTE: after the lease at the current premises is up they will relocate operations to another).


The thing about a community creative hub is that it needs community support. We are that community.

The Colour Box Studio team is coming towards the end of a 7-week Pozible campaign [2 WEEKS TO GO!] to raise a minimum of $7000 so that they can continue on with the next creative programs planned from May until the end of October 2013. They will likely look this:

• MAY: Young People in the Arts Program

• JUNE/JULY: Writing and Performance

• AUGUST: Music & Sound Program

• SEPTEMBER: Visual Arts

• OCTOBER: Volunteers & Members Program

(This may change slightly due to the ‘pop up’ nature of the space)

Colour Box Studio needs your help to continue on this journey to support, nurture and showcase this creative community.

Why support that journey?

Well, for the last 5 and a half months, Colour Box Studio has been reliant on 100% magnificent volunteer effort. 

They always supports ethical and sustainable practices when they can on all levels of operation. 

They acknowledge that they (we) are on traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people. They offer their respect to the Elders of these traditional lands, and through them to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples past and present.

The THREE programs they have run so far have been terrific:

Christmas Pop Up Shop Program (Nov/Dec 2012),

Digital Media Program (Jan/Feb 2013) &

Fashion Month – Sustainable Ethical Local Fashion (Mar/Apr 2013)

AND they have showcased the work of over 40 Melbourne artists and creative people; created income for over 40 Melbourne artists; held 4 free community based events; enabled 15 artists to facilitate workshops, share skills and make an income; bonded with an amazingly generous team of volunteers; built a wonderful community of 100s of people who support the space and engage with Colour Box Studio online & offline …. all of this in 5 and a half crazy busy months!


Despite everything that it has produced, and the amount of money that goes into making in all happen, Colour Box Studio is not set up to make a profit.  They take a very low commission on sales, and deliberately have very low rental fees so that artists can really benefit from its programs in a way that supports them financially – and they want to keep it that way.

SO. They have created this Pozible FUNDRAISING campaign as they believe that this is the best platform that supports fundraising and community spirit.


Colour Box Studio is aiming to raise a minimum of $7000 to go towards 6 months programming (1 May – 31 Oct 2013). 

If they can raise $7000 these funds will go towards:

• rent & running expenses like internet, water, electricity etc;

• property maintenance (the building is over 200 years old & there are a few things that still need attending to!);

• materials for exhibitions, events, pop up shops, meetings, workshops;

• programming expenses such as posters, flyers, promotion, catalogues, EFTPOS facilities;

• equipment such as a speaker and microphone for events,  & heating devices for winter.

If they reach this goal, they will also be able to keep their commissions and rental fees nice and low, for the benefit of the community of artists in Melbourne. Seriously, who else has that as a mission statement?

AND if they can raise $12 500 they could put funds into:

• paying 2x people one day a week for the 6 months; 

• developing their website & online presence; 

• purchase of a computer or portable device to use as a POS system during pop up shop times.

The journey of Colour Box Studio has been a character building experience for all involved: they have come across adversity, stumbled at times, but they have learnt from mistakes and have come together as a TEAM and COMMUNITY to achieve what they have so far.

HELP THEM continue the journey.  

If you pledge, the money will only be processed IF they reach the $7000 target and at the end of their campaign. If they don’t get this funding they will be unable to continue operating at their current capacity offering FREE events, low commissions for artists, low or free rental fees for artists etc.

By supporting Colour Box Studio, you get the satisfaction of supporting a hard-working community of creative people, and being a part of something REAL, tangible, motivated by the best of intentions. 


Find out more:

Link to the campaign: http://www.pozible.com/colourboxstudio

Link to video: https://vimeo.com/61697415






CLICK TO TWEET INSTANTLY about campaign:  http://clicktotweet.com/18Zc9

Colour Box Studio is a community creative hub that needs a helping hand to keep supporting, nurturing and showcasing Melbourne creatives. Pledge and get rewards here – http://www.pozible.com/colourboxstudio


URL –  https://www.facebook.com/colourboxstudio





I really feel like I’m in summer holiday mode now. Since I experience everything from the inside out, ‘summer holiday mode’ basically means that my blood has slowed down and I am the little book of CALM (though my “work” schedule is pretty much the same). The wonderful thing about being inwardly centred is that the most familiar things are experienced as magnificentI could be buying groceries and feel like I’m in a tropical oasis 🙂

Got a couple of important things to post about before the new year (NDIS, mental health system, etc) but in this quickie post I want to share just a few of the magnificent things that were a part of my week, in no particular order. If you get a chance to, do take yourself along to experience them too.

So, Yesterday afternoon I hung out with a sista and visited another who had a stall at the BIG DESIGN MARKET (finishes Sunday):

Big Design bags



Big Design

My friend/weaver/Goddess Maryann Talia Pau‘s stall 🙂 :

Maryann Talia Pau stall

maryann talia pau card

Maryann and Taloi!

Maryann and Taloi!

Always love hanging out with Sistas.

But the other reason I enjoyed the market so much is because I am currently absorbing design inspiration. The indoor/outdoor area extension on our house will likely be completed over summer, and it will include my new office! Rolling around the building site this week, I started picturing what this new centre of my universe might look like.

I do know that I want the space to inspire me creatively, be uncluttered and spare, yet still contain some bursts of colour (for the positive psychological effect). I will likely achieve this atmosphere with colour and light. And my need for colour and sensitivity to lighting means that I get totally turned on when I see something like this:

Lighting inspiration

Yep. Lighting fetish, since ’98.

My preference is for really simple (even plain) furniture, combined with just a few high quality colourful objects – especially, these days, if they have spiritual and Pacifika/Papua New Guinean symbolism. So I’m thinking designing my own lamps/lighting for the space, as well as creating indigenous art (or acquiring some from the many talented Pacific ceramicists/weavers/makers and visual artists in networks) is the way to go.

New office means I will also finally get to renew and re-do my bedroom (and get a new bed). Strolling around Big Design, I found a lot of inspiration (fabrics, textiles, etc) for that project, as well as a few lamp designers (Phoebe Lamps and Patturn Studio) who added fuel to my imagination in terms of what I could use lighting wise. I want to incorporate Papua New Guinean craft techniques I’m now learning, and designs, in the space. Making things with my hands gets me out of my head, and as a Writer I need that to balance – I tend to live in my head too much.

Other than inspiration, I picked up just two objects, that I actually need. I acquired a new iPad (i.e. workday) bag on sale, from Only Midge/Attic (every other day I’ll be carrying bilums only). Strangely the hue of this bag seems to really compliment all the purple & purplish-pink things in my wardrobe:

Resting on one of my technicolor scarves...

Resting on one of my technicolor scarves… the bag is actually more mauve-grey than it looks here!

I also got a wide-brimmed hat for my summer – I LOVE IT! Comfortably accommodates my Afro boof head and successfully shielded me from the Sun all Friday (and will today as well):

Big big hat.

Big big hat.

I’m going to wear this daily this season. Hat is from Truffaux. Hat tip, Truffaux!

In the evening, we saw this affecting, poetic piece of dance theatre – Master of Animateuring Dance Project : ‘HA LF’. Invited by dancer Mariaa Randall, the creator behind this (we had wanted Mariaa to do a performance with another talented dancer at the So Fukin Native Exhibition opening, but alas, something came up).

And lastly, I wish I had photos of this, because this is a stunning exhibition – Birds of Paradise at the Melbourne Museum, running until 3 February. Me and a bunch of friends + community mob + my Mama were invited to the opening tour this week, and I will be going back soon to take it in properly. Has also generated a bunch of article ideas, and I met once again a ukelele teacher/vanilla importer/fascinating young arts practitioner who was a fellow student in a bilum making workshop I recently did at COLOUR BOX STUDIO (by the way – some of the designers featured at CBS, including the interior designer of Colour Box Studio, have stalls at the Big Design Market too).

So, if you want to slot some more things in this weekend, check out any of the above.

Peace and love 🙂 Back very soon with a new topic and new post.


Looking forward to Léuli Eshraghi’s solo show this week! A solo show of his own paintings! La manuia…