Always Was, Always Will Be. Op-ed by Aaliyah Bradbury

Courtesy Aaliyah Bradbury.

Courtesy Aaliyah Bradbury.

To celebrate NAIDOC Week 2020, Create NSW asked four talented NSW artists and screen practitioners to share with us their response to the question: What does the 2020 NAIDOC theme mean to you – personally and/or professionally?

Aaliyah Bradbury

“When I first found out of this year’s NAIDOC theme of ‘Always was and always will be’ it made me pause. I took this moment of stillness to try and contextualise what this theme meant for me. At first, I couldn’t help but think of the warm familiarities of the ‘Welcome to Countries’ that I have grown up to love so much. But, upon further reflection l realised it was so much more. This theme spoke of something so deeply intrinsic to my psyche that it almost hit me like a ton of bricks. ‘Always was and always will be’ is the unconscious muse of my opus.

I have the privilege to know that I am the result of all those who have come before me and to be the foundation of those who will come after me. With this in mind, I thought of my craft.  I am a storyteller, and this is my legacy to share. Telling stories is embedded within the codes of my DNA linking me to millennia of ancestors passing down this craft. As a filmmaker, I have the privilege to be a storyteller recontextualising messages, stories, and teachings passed down to me or I have learnt along the way. It is powerful. These stories through Screen will show you perspectives and worlds that even though they may feel foreign or other it will still speak to something universally human. This is what I am working towards with future emerging Indigenous filmmakers by inspiring them and creating spaces and opportunities for them to succeed in telling personal and authentic stories.

I know that this is what I am meant for and one day when my body starts to become frail and I no longer recognise myself, I will sit back in my old age and reflect upon my life; I will be able to see a line of proud  filmmakers eager to continue this culture of Indigenous storytelling and seeing that the cycle continues and our stories are immortalised. This for me is what it means for ‘Always was and always will be.’



Aaliyah-Jade Bradbury is a proud Indigenous woman from both the Larrakia Nation and Erub Island of Meriam Mir peoples. Aaliyah is from Sydney and was raised within the heart of Sydney’s Indigenous arts spaces. She became a radio producer for 702 ABC Sydney for Afternoons with James Valentine, Drive with Richard Glover and Evenings with Christine Anu. Whilst at the ABC, Aaliyah hosted her own podcast for NAIDOC Week called The Jams with Aaliyah Bradbury.

Aaliyah has held various roles across NGO and Government at organisations such as the Australia Council for the Arts, the ABC, NITV and Carriageworks, and has worked on feature documentaries.

Hear More on NAIDOC Week 2020 from Ian RT CollessThea Perkins, and Majhid Heath now.

Image courtesy Aaliyah Bradbury.

Published: 11 November 2020