Deng Adut stares straight down the lens, chin in hand as if in thought, a bright gold-patterned cravat peeking from his jacket, hinting at some off-camera flamboyance. It’s clear from his pose that he’s a proud and noble man but his eyes convey nothing but sadness. You’ll go to those eyes first. Then you’ll look up to his forehead at the deep V-shaped scars. This single image, by photographer Nick Cubbin, immediately conveys that there’s more to Adut’s story than the short-hand version we’d heard of the former Sudanese child soldier who arrived in Sydney as a penniless teen, only to become a successful lawyer and refugee advocate. The headline, a first-person quote, “I Still Feel Ashamed”, completes the message of turmoil. Adut’s story is indeed one of good over evil, of Australia as the land of opportunity for those who are prepared to work for it, that success against all the odds is possible. But his story is also one of trauma and deprivation. I look at his face and I want to know more – that’s what makes it my cover of the year.
– Christine Middap editor, The Weekend Australian Magazine