The 7 Stages of Grieving

The 7 Stages of Grieving


Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman

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The 7 Stages of Grieving: Scene 18: Gallery of Sorrow Summary & Analysis

A collection of images is projected on the projection spaces across the stage. The images depict the phases of Aboriginal History: Dreaming, Invasion, Genocide, Protection, Assimilation, Self-determination, and, finally, Reconciliation.
The Woman relays Aboriginal history as she knows it: a time of Dreaming (or creation), a time of invasion and fear, a time of genocide and loss, a time of protection (in which Aboriginal people attempted to keep themselves safe from worse harm), a time of assimilation (in which colonists forcibly encouraged indigenous people to abandon their traditions, beliefs, and families), a time of self-determination (in which Aboriginal people reclaimed what they could of their histories, traditions, and communities), and a time of Reconciliation between white Australians and Aboriginal people, which is still to come but which may not, as the Woman will go on to explore, even be possible. These seven phases mirror the seven stages of grief—and, in numbering the phases of Aboriginal history in a measure equal to the stages of grieving, the Woman suggests that, just as Aboriginal people’s grief is too immense to follow any order or logic, Aboriginal history itself is similarly in a stage of constant flux. Genocide is not strictly in the past—the effects of genocide are still rippling through Aboriginal communities today. Reconciliation is not necessarily in the future—the time for reconciliation, as the woman will later suggest, may have already come and gone.
Colonialism and Oppression Theme Icon
Memory and Family Trauma Theme Icon
Feeling vs. Numbness  Theme Icon
Aboriginal Identity, Pride, and Resilience Theme Icon