A seven-storey tall portrait of Tiwi Island sistergirl and drag performer Shaniquá TiwiSista has been unveiled in Darwin ahead of the city’s Pride Festival celebrations.
Australian street artist Kaff-eine painted the mural on the building on West Lane in the Darwin CBD, one of several stunning artworks produced for the Darwin Street Art Festival this month.
Shaniquá wrote on her Facebook page that she was “so proud and feel very privileged” to be immortalised with the artwork.
“I’m a proud Yurruma Jilarringa and Tiwi islander to be able to shine and continue the conversation and awareness for our human rights,” she said.
“I’m not representing myself but all the other girls, my fellow Tiwi sistergirls.
“This is a incredible and a historical piece to celebrate our achievements to acceptance and respect in being ourselves.
“Tiwi Island is leading the way to show that acceptance and love is important to the LGBTIQ+ community.”
“Sistergirl” is the indigenous Australian term for transgender women, with trans men known as “brotherboys”.
Tiwi Island’s sistergirls
Shaniquá was one of the drag performers that took part in the inaugural Miss First Nations pageant in Darwin last year, and appeared in the documentary about the pageant Black Divaz.
She said it was very important to her to be a role model for the next generation of Indigenous sistergirls.
“After the [same-sex marriage postal survey], it’s more open now and a lot of conversations and awareness of the LGBTI and especially the sistergirl communities have come into the spotlight,” she said.
“Living in a community like the Tiwi Islands is very different to living in an urban environment.
“Being a Tiwi Island sistergirl and LGBTIQ person, it means living away from [home] to get the opportunities that we don’t have on the Tiwi Islands.
“We do our best to overcome barriers and seek services and support and networking but unfortunately, there’s not a lot of help with that on the Tiwi Islands.
“We’re doing things to gradually progress and succeed, and getting out there to show that Tiwi Island is not only known for its talented footballers but also for its talented performers.
“The society on the Tiwi Islands have gradually come together and shown that awareness that we’re all family, and family do matter.”
Darwin Pride Festival kicks off
Now in its 33rd year, the Darwin Pride Festival celebrates the LGBTIQ community in the Northern Territory.
This year’s festival will kick off on Thursday with a special launch event and there will be several events across the Territory until September 30.
Shaniquá said she’ll be joining fellow drag performers Miss Ellaneous and Marzi Panne at a number of events and parties on the Pride Festival calendar.
For more details, visit the Darwin Pride Facebook page.
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I’m painting @shaniquatiwisista for @darwinstreetartfestival, taking a long lunch in the middle of each day to avoid the heat 👍🏽 Here’s @hafleg’s pic of Chayni & I beginning our afternoon shift, just before the shade creeps across on to our wall 👌🏽 #kaffeine #kaffeinepaints #Darwin #DarwinStreetArt #StreetArt #LGBTQ #trans #sistagirl #Aboriginal #TiwiQueen #TiwiIslands #NorthernTerritory #goodtimes
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@shaniquatiwisista visited my 95% completed #mural for @darwinstreetartfestival today, straight off the plane from the #TiwiIslands! 👑🏳️🌈❤️ #kaffeine #kaffeinepaints #Darwin #Sistagirl #LGBT #trans #Aboriginal #TiwiIslander #drag #TiwiQueen #streetart #DarwinStreetArt #NorthernTerritory #goodtimes