Reconciliation champions

Congratulations to four IGS Year 6 students who have been named finalists in the 2022 Schools Reconciliation Challenge.

Earlier this year, our Year 6 students entered the Schools Reconciliation Challenge facilitated by Reconciliation NSW.

“With finals success a few years ago, this year, Year 6 teacher Amanda Klahn initiated an Aboriginal art workshop with Wiradjuri artist Bianca Caldwell artist prior to the challenge,” said Head of Indigenous Education and Stage 6 Aboriginal Studies Teacher Jade Carr.

Bianca’s art and the skills she taught our students inspired their submissions with the theme From River to Sea – Our Island Home

The following Year 6 students have been selected as finalists to have their work displayed at the upcoming launch event at the Australian Museum on Monday 28 November.

Their work will be included in the Schools Reconciliation 2022 Catalogue and will be exhibited in various locations around the state in 2022 including International Towers, Barangaroo and NSW Parliament House before joining the National Trust Regional Tour.

Congratulations to the following Primary students.

  • Aria, Primary School Art, “The Rainbow Land”
  • Jakov, Primary School Art, “When the river meets the sea”
  • Ace, Primary School Art, “Our colourful culture”
  • Maia, Primary School Art, “From river to sea turtle”

Head of Primary Colin Bird said having four finalists is “absolutely fantastic”.

“It is so great to have our student represented in a nationwide art tour,” he said.

Enjoy Jakov’s ‘artist statement’

My artwork relates to the topic of river to sea our island home because it shows a whale, which is a creature from the ocean, and a river turtle, which is from rivers, connecting. My artwork is about how everything connects to each other, even rivers and oceans.

The patterns in the animals show how everything is beautiful, especially nature, and this shows how important it is to protect it. The coral and fish also show beauty and life. My artwork also shows that rivers are very important in Australia, being a water supply for most Australians. I show this by using the Indigenous symbol of long journey, to represent the river’s long journey across Australia

Reconciliation is a very important thing in Australia, and it means many things. It is about celebrating Indigenous cultures and practices, and celebrating Australia’s diversity. But it also means remembering the old times, and healing Country together. It’s about learning about Country, the language and remembering.

It’s about remembering the journey and the amazing things the First Nation’s people fought for including their rights, for Australia and to change the constitution.

Healing Country is not actually about fixing it, but about learning about the languages, people, plants and animals. The goal of reconciliation is to make everybody equal. This means removing racism, giving Aboriginal children and communities the education they need, and learning about their culture and language. To achieve these things, we will need determination and strength.

But, reconciliation is not just about healing and learning, but about learning and remembering the terrible things that happened, and apologising and not forgetting. Hopefully, if we achieve these goals, Australia will be an equal and happy place, with no racism and hopefully, everyone will be equal.

Enjoy Ace’s ‘artist statement’

My artwork represents connection and peace no matter who you are. Each hand has a different pattern and a different colour, all touching Australia. What it is saying is no matter where you come from, from river to sea, it is still our island home. The background of my artwork is black, which is what happens when you mix all the primary paint colours together, the colours represent diversity in gender, race and much more. At the end of the day, we are all connected somehow.

To me reconciliation is about strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous people. If we accomplish that, Australia would be a better place. Reconciliation week is from 27 May to 3 June, but really it should be, and is, every day. The Reconciliation Week 2022 theme is Be Brave, Make Change.

For hundreds of thousands of years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have owned the land and they still do, but many years later it was taken away from them. As it sounds it was devastating. They had to face land dispossession, violence, and racism for two centuries, but over the last half-century, steps towards reconciliation have been taken. Now that they’ve created a week where everyone can appreciate the First Nations culture and traditions, we have many celebrations and much more. Without that, Australia won’t be the true Australia.

Well done to all students!