The #BTH20 artwork was created in collaboration with members from our Stolen Generation Reference Committee and artist Riki Salam, the artwork ‘Healing Country’, is about the resilience of the human spirit and Aboriginal peoples’s connection to the land and country. It speaks of their trials and tribulations but also the strength,endurance and determination of the people of the Stolen Generations and their families.
The spirit of the people remains steadfast like the tree strong and proud. Depicted central to the artwork the tree with it’s roots, draws deep water from within the land which replenishes and renourishes, in this still place healing takes place. The art of deep listening and contemplation – listening to self, listening to others, listening to country. Cleansing the mind, renewing the body and uplifting the spirit, where land, sea and sky are connected, we are all connected. The tree’s many branches and leaves represents the community that forms the Stolen Generations, they are strengthened together, the fruit represents the wisdom they hold. Markings depicted on the trunk of the tree tell of their journeys, being taken from family and country and also some people’s return back to country and back to family. The central circular motif within in the tree represents fire, the place where we gathered with family, a place of warmth and comfort, a place of safety.
The wavey line that passes through the middle of the artwork represents the creation spirit, guiding and returning people back to country and family. The 3 connected circles depicted at the bottom of the piece represents our connections to the land, sea (water) and sky. The six connected circles above depict the underpinning support of families and organisations including government to the Stolen Generations. The four predominant circles that are connected above in the night sky represents country where the spirit returns back to – saltwater, freshwater, open plains and desert country.
The Southern Cross constellation guides their journey, and assists in navigation through life today and the journey of healing. The stars in the night sky represent those that have passed on, their memories remain with us as our journey continues as individuals, as a community, as a people and as a nation, guiding, informing, supporting, learning, listening and yarning on our journey to Healing Our People, Healing Our Country and Healing Our Nation.