This week is NAIDOC week in Australia. It’s held each year in July and is a chance to promote and celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This year’s theme is VOICE. TREATY. TRUTH. and as in other years the goal is to continue moving forward for a better future.
NAIDOC week (the acronym stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) is a great opportunity to participate in, learn about and support the indigenous community at a local, state and national level.
At a national level we all celebrate in the achievements of sporting greats, actors, musicians and artists but in our everyday lives we can also take more time to notice and learn more as we go. The learning can be particularly significant when you are touring and holidaying around the country. It’s becoming more and more common as you travel through Australia to see acknowledgement of country in a lot of tourist spots and the inclusion of signage in National Parks explaining the aboriginal dreaming stories about the landscape and some of the local dialect. It adds another layer to taking a walk through these parks when you can discover for instance, how the native plants were and are still being used in medicine, food and other practical applications.
A great way to support local communities is to visit reputable art galleries to see and purchase aboriginal art. I’m a big fan of these style of paintings mainly because of the stories they tell. Every dot, swirl, line and symbol has a meaning of significance to the artist. The art shows where people meet, what animals can be found, natural landmarks such as rivers and hills and stories on particular regions. This very ancient style of art can also look very contemporary hanging in our homes today.
These art pieces are on a very grand scale and were part of a Tarnanthi exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia. Pronounced Tar-nan-dee, this exhibition and festival is held every year from October to January and also includes an art fair, artist talks, performances and events.
If you’re planning a visit to South Australia during the exhibition time it’s well worth visiting to immerse yourself in this rich culture, see some stunning exhibitions and buy art, knowing that the money is going back to helping communities.
Why not go and check out some deadly art for yourself this weekend.