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Aboriginal art welcomes patients and staff at Metro South Health

4 November 2020

Artworks entitled “Our Cultural Being” were unveiled today as a result of a collaboration between Aboriginal Artist Charlie Waters and Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services. 

Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services Executive Director Kieran Kinsella said a series of digital artworks would be hung in reception areas across Metro South Health, which would help foster cultural understanding and healing.

“The idea to create the murals came about as a part of Addiction and Mental Health Services work in both Closing the Gap and creating culturally safe and welcoming spaces for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who use our services,” he said.

"Creating safe environments where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ cultures are respected and celebrated is important for people’s recovery journey.

“Each of the artworks is geographically relevant highlighting the water, forest and woodland areas of the Metro South regions’ environment.”

Aboriginal Artist Warren Waters, known as Charlie, created the stunning artworks.

“The paintings showcase visual locations and totemistic symbols that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples see and use to help us get through life’s challenges,” Charlie said.

“Having these cultural aspects in our lives are valuable. We share these practices with family, friends, work colleagues and those within our support circles.

“The paintings contain symbolisation of a bora ring, which brings people together during ceremonies to practice healing and good health; the boomerangs are a symbol of strength and resilience for health workers; and the top and bottom of the artworks display our waterways and waterholes,” he said.

Way Forward Team Leader and Psychologist Michelle Combo said the paintings form part of our ongoing commitment to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“Creating a visual experience for our staff and consumers is important because provides an immediate and clear symbol to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that they are welcomed and will be respected as members of this country’s First Nations people.

“Having a culturally capable workforce and acknowledging culture is an important factor to consider in improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” she said.

ENDS

ARTWORK INFORMATION

Name: Our Cultural Being

Artist: Charlie Waters

Medium: Digital Art

Cultural practices provide people with enablers that support them to function on a daily basis. The artwork showcases visual locations and totemistic symbols that we see and use to help us get through life challenges. Having these cultural aspects in our lives is valuable. We share these practices with family, friends, work colleagues and those within our support circles.

The large circle is a symbolisation of a bora ring, which brings people together during ceremonies to practice healing & health and to celebrate old and new cultural practices. Connection circles bring us together. The city of Brisbane is now a visual contemporary location that showcases where our people live and call home.

Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services is a part of cultural and healing practices for our people within the Brisbane and the surrounding areas. Their presence is within the middle of the work, depicting a workforce that is so valuable spiritually to heal and establish culturally safe environments for their clients.

The boomerangs are a symbol of strength and resilience for health workers. Never give up. Always return. Committed to being there by your side.

The top and bottom art works display our waterways, waterholes and the green is for the environment. These surround our communities that have support needs and connect with each other through the sharing of stories and cultural actions.

Our Cultural Being (Blue) represents the water areas of the Metro South region. Traditional coastal tribes that still today reside on the islands, along the coastal shores and for the mobs that live within the city, their connections to the sea. The Metro South region is rich in sea people’s historical knowledge which can be seen in contemporary attributes of our society.

Image: Metro South Health Board Chair Ms Janine Walker AM and Indigenous Elder Aunty Healther Castledine.

Last updated 4 November 2020
Last reviewed 4 August 2020

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