A tribute to Destiny Deacon

We pay our respects to this talented Erub, Mer & K'ua K'ua artist and activist who passed away aged 67 years.

Thanks to Destiny - 'Blak' is now widely used instead of 'Black'.

To read more of Destiny's impactful life click here.

Blak (without the 'c')

Destiny in her 1991 exhibition 'Blak Lik Mi,' did a total bold makeover and reinterpretation of the word 'black.' It came about she was sick of being misrepresented and racially abused by non-Indigenous people.

Deacon remembered hearing hurtful things like "You little black c...s" while growing up, and she decided, "I just wanted to take the 'C' out of 'black.'"So she did!

'Blak' without the the 'C' from 'black,' symbolises a reclaiming of Indigenous identity and resistance against derogatory language used to put Mob down.


Destiny Deacon coined the term Blak without the 'c' back in 1994, reclaiming and re-contexualising the word.

Today, the word 'Blak' is embraced by many First Nations people across the continent as a signifier for identity. The 2024 NAIDOC Committee adopted this phrase in their theme 'Keep The Fire Burning - Blak, Loud & Proud'

Blak is like saying, "We're more than just our skin color." It's about Indigenous people owning their identity and standing up against discrimination. It's cool to see it used proudly in campaigns like Shades of Deadly.

More about this short firm

This video was created by Jodie Haines @Heidi_hole plus @jodyhaines_photography and commissioned by Arts Centre Melbourne for BLAKTIVISM performance and narrated by Deline Briscoe.

Furher Reading


If you’re curious, interested, baffled, or thinking of super-casually dropping some words into a conversation or piece of writing yourself, this handy usage guide is for you.

Interesting informative read by Jack Laitmore. Jack is the Indigenous affairs journalist at The Age. He is a Birpai man with family ties to Thungutti and Gumbaynggirr nations.

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