Talking About Palm Island

Talking About Palm Island happened quite by chance while sitting in Elisabeth Cummings' beautiful home-and-studio in suburban Sydney. Elisabeth is one of Australia's most respected living abstract expressionists and a wonderful human being. In this clip she's telling us about The Tall Man: Death and Life on Palm Island, a book that's impressed her immensely. The award-winning book by Chloe Hooper traces the custody death in 2004 of Cameron Doomadgee Mulrunji, a 36-year-old aboriginal man believed to have been a victim of the police's racial prejudice. The coroner's report tried to show Mulrunji's demise as a case of accidental death, which led to violent riots and sit-ins by the Palm Island aborigine community who alleged that Mulrunji was beaten to death. For me the incident is an important part of understanding race-relations in Australia and perhaps even back home in India where they take on a casteist colour.

Elisabeth, like many other Oz artists whom we met, also spoke about her deep fascination with the colours and sights of India. She was in Vrindavan recently where she had a great time visiting the temples and watching underprivileged kids paint.

Also at the table are Oz light-artist Roger Foley-Fogg, Hollywood film editor Francesca Emerson, CNN-IBN art correspondent (and wifey) Sahar Zaman and of course yours truly who's behind the camera.


  1. I'd like to read this book now... thanks!

  2. The artists and thinking people of Australia are VERY concerned at the murder of this man by a policeman at Palm Island and the subsequent judicial cover up.....Queensland is well known as the Deep North. Our human stain.

  3. I should of course have added that many many police also find this tragedy equally abhorrent!!!

  4. Yeah, I agree with you there, Roger, in fact we have a bigger human stain in what happened in Gujarat in 2002.... but what I like is the fact that the book has become a document of the incident and will (hopefully) help prevent a repeat of it.


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