A BOLD Boandik artwork has been installed on ac.care’s Mount Gambier Family Relationship Centre to celebrate National Reconciliation Week.
The event on Tuesday, May 31, followed the launch of the country not-for-profit organisation’s Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan in Berri on May 25, outlining three years of bold action to make a difference in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Local Aboriginal and broader community representatives, fellow service providers and staff of the homelessness, foster care and human services agency gathered for the unveiling of the mural by Boandik woman Bonnie-May Saunders.
Installation of the artwork is the final stage of a revamp of the Mount Gambier Family Relationship Centre design to ensure it is welcoming of all and pays respect to Boandik people as the traditional owners of the Mount Gambier region.
“We want to respectfully acknowledge we work on land that always was and always will be Aboriginal land,” ac.care Stretch RAP champion Jason Wallace said.
“Here in Berrin, Mount Gambier, this land is Boandik land.”
ac.care worked with Burrandies Aboriginal Corporation to incorporate Bunganditj language and artwork at the centre.
“We have welcomed opportunities to engage appropriately with Burrandies and install this bold artwork highlighting the deep connections that remain across this region for the Boandik people, beautifully illustrated by Bonnie-May,” Mr Wallace said.
Mount Gambier-based Boandik, Meintangk, Gunditjmara, Ngarrindjeri and Narrungga woman Ms Saunders said she was proud to see her work, My Home, displayed on the Mount Gambier Family Relationship Centre windows.
“My Home as it is represented in this piece is full of beautiful colours,” she said, explaining the combination of lush green land and extensive water.
“In the centre we have a symbol which represents people sitting and talking together, which emphasises we have a great facility here in Berrin with the Mount Gambier Family Relationship Centre, which keeps families connected and links them with supports,” she said.
“I hope that people look at my piece and remember the importance of culture, families and most of all being connected to Boandik Country.”
Mr Wallace said the artwork installation was one step in the three-years of action outlined in the organisation’s Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan.
“We want to be an advocate that stands up, speaks up and makes a difference,” he said, explaining ac.care sought to go beyond generating change and opportunities in the country South Australian communities in which it operates to be part of Reconciliation Australia’s broader national advocacy for change.
“We hope our commitment contributes to the broader movement to create a fairer society, a fairer nation, where everyone is respected, has opportunities to thrive and the value of our First Nations culture, the oldest surviving culture in the world, is recognised, respected and enshrined at the heart of our nation’s foundations and identity,” he said.
“Together we can make a difference and create a society we can all take pride in where everyone belongs and has equal opportunities to participate freely and with equity in all areas of Australian life.”
ac.care’s Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan is available at accare.org.auac.care can be contacted on 1300 ACCARE (1300 222 273).
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