• Cienan Muir has created the platform he wished he'd had as a kid, bringing Indigenous creatives together through everything geeky. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
From a young age, Cienan realised there wasn't really anyone who looked like him in the games, comics, games and books that he loved, and wished there was a role model for him within the stories he devoured.
Keira Jenkins

11 Feb 2021 - 3:56 PM  UPDATED 11 Feb 2021 - 3:56 PM

As a kid, Yorta Yorta & Ngarrindjeri man, Cienan Muir loved to read comics, and as he grew older, his passion for everything geeky and pop culture grew with him.

From a young age, Cienan realised there wasn't really anyone who looked like him in the games, comics, games and books that he loved, and wished there was a role model for him within the stories he devoured.

Cienan began cosplaying - dressing up as characters from books, films, comics and video games - as an adult, and further analysed the lack of Indigenous representation in pop culture, which led him to launch INDIGINERD.

An Indigenous pop culture business, which hosted Australia's very first Indigenous Comic Con in 2019.

"Growing up, you're always taught to have a voice and don't be ashamed," he told NITV News.

"Sometimes, the appropriate platforms just don't exist for young people to have their voice heard.

"I started looking at media representation for Indigenous people and then I joined that with my passion for all things geeky and developed this new platform for our young people to say this is my passion, I'm not ashamed of it."

INDIGINERD is the platform that Cienan wished he had as a kid, and now he's at the helm of it.

He said INDIGINERD and Indigenous Comic Con are not just about representation, but about giving mob a space to be themselves and share their passion for pop culture.

Cienan likens it to the spaces created for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by the sporting carnivals and knockouts that have become prominent part of the Blak social calendar.

"There hasn't really been such a platform for our people to have their voices heard in this type of way," he said.

"It's always been a conversation point when you go to the basketball carnival or the footy carnival.

"But there's always been community members who have grown up on Star Trek or Star Wars, and they prefer one or the other, and there's never anything in between that.

"I wanted to produce a space where we could have a laugh, have some fun, but also really think about how we tell our narrative and what it means to be the oldest storytellers in the world."

To Cienan, the importance of having these spaces can't be underestimated. 

He said they're important for mob to have a place to feel supported and safe, but they can also act to bust myths and stereotypes about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

"Making sure that we create the spaces that we want, is just so important," he said.

"But in creating a space within pop culture, there's so many missing elements that still exist within the pop culture world that we do need to have that discussion about.

"What is at the forefront of my mind would be cultural representation on film. There's still elements of our culture that are portrayed by myths and stereotypes.

"What indigenous Comic Con and INDIGINERD does is we look to break those those myths and stereotypes and say, well, no, in, in today's age, this is what an Indigenous person looks like.

"Our story and our selves are not based on a historical perspective. Yes, it is important to respect our history and always remember what our ancestors and Elders went through to get us to where we are, but where we are right now is very important to where our Elders were and the work they did for us to end up here."

Cienan is one of the Aboriginal storytellers who are part of the Victorian Government's 'Deadly and Proud' campaign, an interactive online platform, which is the part of the government's treaty process.

The website features 21 Indigenous storytellers from across the state, sharing stories as part of 'truth-telling'.

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