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Decals open doors to reconciliation

Wednesday 29 May 2019

Doorway art is starting a new conversation around reconciliation after Eurobodalla Council installed entryway artworks on the doors of its administration building, Council Chambers and Moruya Library last week.

Council’s community development coordinator Zoe Morgan said the semi-transparent veneers worked to strengthen ties between the Aboriginal community, Council and the broader community, and encouraged greater participation by Aboriginal people in local government.

“We have five outstanding images by five local Aboriginal artists which we’ll be using at entries to Council facilities across the shire,” Ms Morgan said.

“By including the local Dhurga language word ‘walawaani’, visitors are offered welcome and safe journey.”

She said the artists – Jodie-Rose Cotter, Reece Ladmore, Sonya Naylor, Bronwen Smith and Allison Walker – had exhibited the images in Council’s Yuin Country exhibition, a 2018 Sorry Day event.

“We developed a professional licence agreement with each artist through the Arts Council NSW. We’re using their work to develop our ‘walawaani-welcome’ project,” Ms Morgan said.

“The lovely thing is it has reignited conversation in the community. The Aboriginal Advisory Committee is one hundred percent behind this project; they believe it demonstrates a turn in Council’s commitment to reconciliation.”

Ms Morgan said stage two of the project would be rolled out during NAIDOC Week.

“We’ll be installing a piece by Wallaga Lake’s Reece Ladmore at the Narooma Youth Café,” she said.

“He’s a Narooma High student and our youngest artist, who’s been visiting the café for years.

“It’s quite a coup for someone so young to be represented with a professional licence.”

Ms Morgan said the project was modelled on the South East Arts SWELL: Walawaani Health Welcome signage, which was rolled out in partnership with Southern NSW Local Health District and local Aboriginal artists.

“Council staff attended the unveiling of the South East Arts entryway art at the Batemans Bay and Moruya hospitals in April last year. That project had been very well received by the local Aboriginal and broader community and was a concept we could build upon,” she said.

“There is a real opportunity to expand the concept across the shire into the future.”

Ms Morgan said other entryways to sport new artwork during the next phase of the project included the Narooma and Batemans Bay libraries and the Dr Mackay Community Centre.