Edition 1: Identity
Welcome to our first edition – the first of many, I wholeheartedly hope. As I sit writing these words, a whole stream of emotions comes to mind, kind of like that “life flashes in front of your eyes” moment they talk about in the movies. I’ve longed for this day for so long, the feeling is a bit overwhelming. When I say “this day”, I don’t mean it literally. Let me back up a bit.
Two years ago, I wrote an article. I’d been made redundant in January 2019, at 3-ish months pregnant, and was left with this terrible feeling I couldn’t shake: a mix of heartbreak, loss, fear, and rage. Being a generally positive and glass-half-full kind of gal, I didn’t know what to do with so much bitterness. So, I wrote. The article was published soon after and that changed everything. Women from everywhere wrote to me. Local women, women in the UK, Africa and from back home. The same, similar or worse had happened to them. We talked it over, letting it all out, not looking for solutions but just holding space for our shared pain. Some had never quite gotten over their loss, but others told me about this mythical day, when I would look back and understand why it had all happened. I longed for that day with my whole being.
The power of community and holding space is incredible. We’ve been reminded of that in our isolation over the last year. So many people found ways to connect and create stronger communities online to help them get over the loss of physical proximity. Our hearts and bodies ache to be held and told things will be ok. As I scrolled through social media on many a sleepless night feeding a tiny newborn, I noticed how little of the content I was consuming was created by women like me – migrants, members of a diaspora, women of colour. Even though I consciously sought after these accounts, others received much more exposure by the mysterious inner workings of the algorithms.
Mainstream media in Australia is overwhelmingly white. Growing up in suburban Melbourne, my family, neighbours and classmates looked nothing like the people on tv, film, newspapers or radios. Even though people of colour represent – and the statistics on this are very fuzzy – about 30% of Australian population, we make up less than 2% of people in media. That means the broad range of views and experiences we hold are left untold, unheard, unseen. It also burdens a select few with being representatives of whole communities. Something which is both unfair and completely impossible to achieve.
This collection of writing and conversations called kindling & sage is meant to be just that: a collection of writing and conversations. By no means do the individuals represent their different communities. We represent ourselves, our stories and lived experience, our work and thoughts. We live at intersections of gender and race, but we do not represent the experiences of all those who live at the same intersections. While representation is diverse, there’s no limit to diversity.
There was no set theme for our first edition – I was adamant that we could write about anything. While race, ethnicity, gender (and the many other intersections we live in) shape our worldview, we can experience and write about love, joy, pop culture etc as much as we do racism, prejudice and othering. That said, the submissions that started coming in often talked about the latter. This first edition holds space for the things that we want to get out. It’s titled Identity because many of the articles discuss who we are and how we’ve come to be. The experiences that have shaped us, the interactions that changed us, the path we’re on.
I hope that when you read these stories you find yourself reflected on the page – that is the foremost intention of this collection. To reflect experiences that are at the same time unique and shared. May these experiences fuel our fires and lead us to continue creating our own spaces and narratives that value and reflect the broad range of perspectives and experiences we hold.
Feisty new start-up magazine is set to elevate the many diverse voices of people of colour.
Sydney, 20 April 2021. // A new magazine will be launched on April 21st on Gadigal Land.
Created by and for Women and Gender Diverse People of Colour, kindling & sage elevates the voices of those that are consistently absent from mainstream media in Australia. Over 30 individuals contribute to the first edition, available in both print and digital editions.
Inspired by the work of gal-dem, B*tch Media, CRWN and others, kindling & sage is a new quarterly publication that includes interviews, opinion pieces, short stories, and poetry. The magazine’s debut edition includes conversations with renowned women in media and fashion, climate advocates, body-positive trailblazers and entrepreneurs. The publication highlights the many different experiences and talents of women of colour and carves out a space unlike any other.
Natalia Garcia, editor and founder, said ‘we’ve created a unique space for women and gender diverse POC to share their stories. The magazine grew from our frustration at the lack of representation People of Colour have in mainstream media. We wanted to hear from people that look like us, that share our experiences, that draw on our knowledge.’
It has long been reported that Australian mainstream media lacks diversity in gender, ethnicity, age, ability and body shapes. The creation of policies and strategies to diversify these spaces means little without first ensuring safe environments for people of colour to flourish.
‘Exclusive spaces that focus on the voices of BIWOC and Gender Diverse POC can improve quality of life and wellbeing, strengthen a sense of belonging and validate our experiences. As Audre Lorde said, “without community, there is no liberation” and we’re working to create a community that is truly diverse and inclusive’ Ms Garcia said.
First Edition: Identity
The first edition is 80 beautiful pages of interviews, opinion pieces, artwork, short stories and poetry from more than 30 feisty individuals, sharing their stories & views.
Feature interviews with Faustina Agolley, Jennifer Atilémile, April Hélène-Horton, Guyala Bayles and Varsha Yajman.
Cover artwork by @bravokarena –Karen Bravo- a multidisciplinary Afro-Colombian artist, her work is feminine and self-explorative.
Pre-orders are open now! Our launch pack includes a print + digital copy of the magazine, a limited edition, ethically made, tote bag with our cover art and a pack of @living_koko cacao husk tea.