Young creative showcases talent and culture for NAIDOC Week

Young creative showcases talent and culture for NAIDOC Week

Australian Unity’s annual Artist-in-Residence program invites Indigenous art students to share their artistic process with Rathdowne Place residents and staff.

This year’s artist-in-residence was Eleanor Franks, a Gubbi Gubbi woman and second year Bachelor of Fine Arts student.

Through her one-week residency at Australian Unity’s Rathdowne Place aged care community, Franks created a triptych that reflected each aspect of the NAIDOC Week 2019 theme: Voice, Treaty, Truth.

“For ‘Voice’ I was inspired by the importance of Indigenous people having a voice in the community,” Franks said.

“I grew up in Hamilton, Victoria and chose our State Flower, the Common Heath, as one of the symbols. I also chose Cockatoos, which are known for their loud voice and which I saw every day in my hometown,” she said.

“For ‘Treaty’ the design represents both sides, Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, coming together. The lines around ‘Treaty’ are ‘u’ shaped, as this symbolises people sitting down together in Indigenous art and speaks to the discussion we need to have,” Franks said.

“For ‘Truth’, I took inspiration from Queensland, where my mob is from. The design features the Cooktown Orchid, as it’s the State flower, and the Spotted Tail Quoll. The Quoll is endangered and in many ways I feel Indigenous youth are too, with the high rates of incarceration and the education gap,” Franks said.

“The lines within the design are quite sharp, representing both the trees and mountains in Queensland, as well as the truth, which can be quite sharp sometimes,” said Franks.

Student Eleanor Franks proudly displays her NAIDOC Week artworks

Franks’ work was unveiled at a special NAIDOC Week morning tea with Rathdowne Place residents and staff in early July.

“Eleanor presented her beautiful work and enlightened us about where she drew her inspiration from and how it poignantly aligned to this year’s NAIDOC Week theme of Voice, Treaty, Truth,” said Gavin Young, General Manager of Rathdowne Place.

Eleanor Franks with Gavin Young, Rathdowne Place General Manager

All images courtesy of Jeremy Little, Australian Unity

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