Friday, 09 July 2010
This week I joined the ECU community in celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a variety of events, held to coincide with national NAIDOC Week celebrations.
This year’s theme, ‘Unsung Heroes - Closing the Gap by Leading Their Way’ was featured throughout all of the events and recognises the part played by the quiet achievers in the Indigenous community, both now and in the past.
To begin the festivities, I was delighted to host 100 members of the community at the opening of the ‘Celebration of Indigenous Art’ exhibition at the Kurongkurl Katitjin Art Gallery last Friday evening.
The exhibition, entitled Heroes, focused on a number of the heroes of Indigenous artists, and included the leaders and significant artists as well as the ‘unsung’ heroes - those artists who may not have achieved a high profile but have contributed significantly to their community, the diversity of local Indigenous art or wider artistic practice. The collection featured a newly acquired piece by Indigenous artist, Christopher Pease, entitled Balga Tree 2010, a striking piece which attracted much attention during the evening.
A highlight of the event included the unveiling and blessing of the newly planted garden outside the Kurongkurl Katitjin Gallery. Featuring two Moodjar trees, also known as the Australian Christmas Tree, and other native plants, this garden represents one of the six Nyoongar seasons – Birak.
On Monday I was pleased to attend flag-raising events at both the Joondalup and Mount Lawley Campuses. More than 50 staff joined me across the campuses for the ceremonial raising of the flags, and to enjoy one another’s company over morning tea.
At the Mount Lawley flag-raising event, we acknowledged some of the Unsung Heroes of the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. The recipients, nominated by their own community, were presented with a Certificate of Acknowledgment by Professor Colleen Hayward, Head of Kurongkurl Katitjin, in recognition of their personal dedication, commitment and achievements in supporting their local communities.
On Tuesday, 6 July I attended the Indigenous Film Night, held at the Mount Lawley Campus, along with approximately 100 members of our local community, to enjoy some family films, and then the locally produced comedy – Stone Bros.
ECU’s NAIDOC Week events concluded with the popular Developing Cultural Competence session held on Thursday, 8 July for ECU staff at the Joondalup campus.
Thank you to the staff from Kurongkurl Katitjin - Centre for Indigenous Australian Education and Research, Public and Corporate Relations and Quality and Equity for their efforts in bringing these celebrations to life.
Professor Kerry O. Cox *
* Professor Kerry Cox was Vice-Chancellor of Edith Cowan University from March 2006 to September 2014.