Making the early years artwork

Making the early years artwork


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art
is among the oldest …continuing art traditions in the world. Storytelling is at the heart of artistic practices. Artist Suzanne Thompson met with community
members, Elders and artists throughout Queensland …to create a piece of art that shares an important
narrative about early learning. Suzanne brought together the stories from
each community to create the final artwork, titled “Ngana Waguna Woori Mumba” — We grow
children together. (Suzanne) Yeah, so today, after a big journey
I’m back in the Gilimbaa studio, Brisbane, …collating together a piece of art that brings together all of the stories of all the images that were captured …right around the state. So first stop was Cairns, then off to Mt Isa, Mackay, Bundaberg, and then finally we got
to Logan. One of the common themes that seemed to go
right across was about the rainbow, was about …many colours, and so that was that one common
thread that went across. There was also, one of the other common threads
that went across was about the developmental stages; …was about from little to big and how
we grow. It was about brightness, it was about the
celebration of all things that are bright …and beautiful.
So there was no beige, there was no dull colours. It was about planting seeds, it was about
things growing. So I think with the art piece, I think that’s
what then started to really evolve. And I know there was another place and space
where, our young people, when we engaged in …early learning it became this fireworks of
colour. So then to sort of lay all the paints out
and brushes and say to the parents, “Well ok how are you going to do this?” And what
they created was just absolutely amazing. Through art, because we are an oral, visual
culture, was the most effective way of engaging and getting the solutions from the community.
So once all the pieces came together, then it was about coming back and then pulling
together a piece of at that actually captures …everything that I was able to capture while
I was on the road. So I have been sitting down and putting it
all together into a final art piece that will then become, sort of, the branding, the story
that will talk about Indigenous early years and inform this whole new strategy.
The most positive thing to come out of the project is that it was a whole lot of different
communities that got to do their piece, that informed a bigger piece, that then captures
everybody else. That’s about many people telling the story,
it’s not about one person, there was not one artist that told it, there was many that
got to tell that story. You can find out more on the Big Learning
Life website. Make the early years count for …your little one.

Dereck Turner

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