Defence Embraces Cultural Expression Through Art

Department of Defence

Private Kate Webster has provided a unique perspective into Indigenous culture in the ADF with her painting Nginhala Ngurambang (Near Home), which was unveiled at the Gaza Ridge Health Centre in Bandiana in December.

A Wiradjuri woman, Private Webster painted the three-panel work to represent the many cultures and lands of Indigenous Australians and their service to the ADF.

“The meaning behind the artwork is that no matter where you’re from or where you are, whether you’re inland or costal, being in the Defence Force means you can always be near home,” she said.

“The Defence Force becomes your home and the people you meet become your family.”

Private Webster created the piece over 10 days, with the blue panel representing costal country, the brown representing inland country and the grey depicting the silhouette of a soldier.

“It’s really up to the person who views the painting as to who they want to believe that is,” she said.

“There’s no description on that person – if it is a male or female, Indigenous or non-Indigenous. It doesn’t matter who you are, you’re still serving your country, which is something you should always be proud of.”

Private Webster grew up on a property near the small town of Rand in NSW, which instilled her love of the land and connection to country.

Her love of painting bloomed in high school and her passion for the Defence Force has just begun, after joining last year as an Army medic.

Private Webster said she looked forward to championing diversity in the Defence Force.

“Displaying Indigenous art within Defence is a huge way to open up gateways to talk about the importance of not only First Nations, but all cultures within our diverse Defence Force,” she said.

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