NAIDOC artwork brings community together

​Above: Shire President John Daw, Caitlin Lawton, Grace Comeagain and James Kearing with the Shire's 2018 NAIDOC Week artwork 'Because of her, we can'.

ABORIGINAL Storyteller Grace Comeagain and designer Caitlin Lawton, of Urban Indigenous, were recently recognised at Mundaring's Ordinary Council Meeting, held 14 August, for their role in bringing the Shire's 2018 NAIDOC Week community art project to life.

NAIDOC Week was this year held nationally from Sunday 8 to Sunday 15 July. The theme for 2018 was "Because of her, we can!"; a celebration of the invaluable contributions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have made – and continue to make – to our communities, our families, our rich history and to our nation.

Shire President John Daw acknowledged Grace and Caitlin for facilitating the artwork, which they created in collaboration with community members who attended the Shire's NAIDOC Week celebration on 9 July. 

"Thank you to Grace and Caitlin for telling your story and designing the artwork so our community could come together and create this special piece whilst enhancing their cultural awareness," said Cr Daw.

Painted with acrylics on canvas, the artwork represents a NAIDOC gathering of Aboriginal women sitting surrounded by the people of Mundaring and wildflowers of the National Park.

"We dedicated the painting to 'Because of her, we can' with the people and children around the women," said Caitlin.

"My involvement with the painting was telling the story while Caitlin was drawing the pictures," added Grace. "We both actually worked together with the colours and with helping people with the artwork."

Grace highlighted the significance of motherhood in Aboriginal culture as an important theme in the artwork. The word 'her' in the painting's title, she explained, refers to an Aboriginal woman in her role as a mother, not only to her children, but to her extended family and her community.

"We dedicated the painting to 'Because of her, we can', which represents all mothers, aunties, grandmothers and sisters who are in your family. It means because she's a Mother of Earth and made us, it makes the generations carry on," she said.

Grace reflected on the project as a successful collaboration.

"I just said, 'Well, because of her, we can celebrate up in the hills here with everybody coming in and gathering to do this artwork with us.'

"It was so lovely getting to meet new people and it was a good environment that day. We just enjoyed our day talking to everybody that came in. They introduced themselves and we told them the story."

The painting, 'Because of her, we can', is now hanging in Council Chambers and can be viewed at each month's Council meeting or by calling 9290 6715 to arrange an appointment.

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