Ingham Hospital held a special unveiling presentation of a mural walk around the hospital painted by local Indigenous artists, on Wednesday, July 7, in time for NAIDOC week.
Each artwork was a labour of love by local residents with a strong connection to country. Opened with a Welcome to Country by local artist and Elder, Troy Wyles Whelan, guests were acknowledged, and artists were acknowledged and thanked, before the ribbon cutting ceremony began. The artists then led the procession on a journey around the hospital, describing their work to an appreciative audience.
Local artist, Soraya Whelan, recited a beautiful poem to accompany her artwork, honouring our beautiful natural surroundings, speaking up for the environment and the creatures within it, her people, and customs, and keeping the dreaming alive, whilst reminding us to live conservatively and to not take more than we need, and to share with those who do not have enough.
Her brother, Troy Wyles Whelan, spoke next. His work is predominantly about stepping out into the expanse and appreciating the world around you and coming together as a community.
The next stop was the maternal ward, with a vibrant mural painted by Artist, Josie Barrett, representing motherhood and new life, and honouring the people born here, especially those of the local tribes Biyaygiri, Warrgamay, and Nywaigi. “The people of the past belong here, and the people of the future belong here,” she said. “Everyone who has a future here that’s part of country”, stressing that it was for all of the people who live in Ingham. In honour of the mothers who had given birth there, she then called for a minute’s silence.
The last artist to be featured on the tour was Kelli Stewart. Her paintings are also based in the maternity ward. Her feature mural was of Wallaman Falls, a particularly special place for Warrgamay women. Her two other paintings came as canvasses rather than murals due to COVID issues. She was unable to be present, but her mother, Aunty Beth, attended and posed for photos on her behalf.
Morning tea was held afterwards and thank you gifts were presented to the Artists by Mayor Raymond Jayo. The refreshments were attended by presenter “Aunty Di” Diane Friday’s son, Jordan Friday, who graced attendees with beautiful live singing while they enjoyed community with each other.
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