A collaborative online exhibition of artworks by Aboriginal Australians will feature as part of National Reconciliation Week in Greater Geelong from 27 May to 3 June.
The virtual collection, Ngal-Ngal-La, is the joint creation of an annual partnership between the City of Greater Geelong, Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation, Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative, Department of Justice and Community Safety, The Torch and The Colac Aboriginal Gathering Place.
This year’s National Reconciliation Week theme is “In this together” and Ngal-Ngal-La is taken from the Wadawurrung word for ‘reconciliation’.
While we usually mark National Reconciliation Week with a projection program at City Hall, coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions have led to the display moving online.
The online exhibition features paintings created with the support of The Torch program, a statewide program that employs Indigenous Arts Officers to support participants in prison in exploring identity and culture through art. The participants whose work is featured in this exhibition are from one of the three prisons located on Wadawurrung country. The aim of the program is to reduce the disproportionate representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in prison by connecting participants with their cultural identity and helping them to develop confidence and define new pathways.
One of the featured paintings is Reconciliation 2019 by Worimi man Darren N, whose work shows four hands coming together.
“My artwork represents different cultures sticking together despite their differences in backgrounds,” Darren says in his artist statement.
We will also be recognising National Reconciliation Week in the following ways:
- Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Australian flags will fly together at City Hall for the duration of the week.
- 44 printed banners will be installed across the region as a visual tool to raise awareness of National Reconciliation Week.
- Two artwork showreel videos, one with a Welcome to Country message from Wadawurrung woman Corrina Eccles, will be shared on our website and social media.
These actions follow the development of the Council’s first Reconciliation Action Plan, which was unanimously adopted by Council in April.
The plan outlines practical ways to advance positive relationships, respect and self-determination between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and non-Indigenous Australians.
Other community events for National Reconciliation Week are also linked via the online exhibition web page, including Virtual Reconciliation in the Park, and special events presented by Geelong Arts Centre, Geelong Gallery, Geelong Regional Libraries, Deakin University and Geelong Cats.
Greater Geelong Mayor – Stephanie Asher
We’re honoured to mark National Reconciliation Week and work with local groups that are dedicated to improving the lives and providing equal opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in our community.
The way we recognise the week will be a little different this year, but that doesn’t take away from the important message of coming together, inclusion and equality.
Council is committed to being part of reconciliation, as demonstrated by our unanimous adoption of the Reconciliation Action Plan in April.
Cr Sarah Mansfield – Chair, Social Inclusion portfolio
Thank you to the Indigenous artists from The Torch program who contributed to this project.
The annual National Reconciliation Week projection program is something the Geelong community looks forward to every year.
When coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions ease, we hope to be able to project these stunning images on to City Hall as a visual reminder to encourage us to continue taking meaningful actions towards reconciliation.
Corrina Eccles – Wadawurrung woman, Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation
My Wadawurrung identity, spirituality and connection does not set me aside but rather makes me feel empowered to share it with all who want to listen, learn and understand.
Reconciliation is vital for a future together.
Koling wada ngal – Let’s walk together.
Nyala bengordingadak – We are in this together.
Simon Flagg – Executive Manager of Corporate Services, Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative
Reconciliation is a mutual relationship built on trust and respect, bringing two cultures together. Aboriginal history is Australian history; and a shared journey of truth, justice and healing unites us all.
With the apt theme of ‘In this together’, Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative supports this Reconciliation Week celebration, which is especially significant to us in this our 40th anniversary year, marking four decades of striving for recognition and harmony.
Ebony Hickey – Colac Aboriginal Gathering Place Co-ordinator and Barwon Local Aboriginal Justice Action Committee Chairperson
Reconciliation week is a week of significant challenge and reflection to Aboriginal Peoples Australia wide, celebrating as such seems a little peculiar as an Aboriginal Person because I don’t have an abundance to reconcile personally and don’t apologise for being a proud and strong Aboriginal woman and feel we have a significant way to go in building equity to the reconciliation process.
Although the burden of reconciliation is beginning to spread, it’s evident that Aboriginal peoples are still disproportionately represented in many areas. The Colac Aboriginal Gathering Place are proud partners of the Ngal-Ngal-La exhibition and would like to congratulate all the participants and their families on the work created in the exhibition, highlighting from a strength perspective the artwork contributes to growing and continuing Aboriginal knowledge and story and is pivotal to the healing journey and the truth of what reconciliation means in the Wathaurong, Gulidjan and Gadubanud communities of the Barwon Region.
Vicki Stuart – Aboriginal Liaison Officer, Karreenga, Department of Justice and Community Safety
The Department of Justice and Community Safety would like to acknowledge our ongoing partnership with the City of Greater Geelong, The Torch, and community stakeholders in the promotion of the amazing artwork completed by our Aboriginal men across the Barwon South West precinct, and its continued commitment in working with Our First Nations Peoples and Reconciliation.