The artwork adorning Equity Trustees’ new Reconciliation Action Plan represents people coming together to share culture, language, stories and dance.
Art has more than the power to move people. It can also act as a powerful force for reconciliation.
“I think we need more of it,” says First Nations artist Alkina Edwards, who created the cover art on Equity Trustees’ new Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
“Art gives something for people to talk about. It's more like a stepping stone for conversations that need to be had, creating awareness around different issues or just history.”
Alkina’s profile recently exploded after she created a piece celebrating First Nations Diamonds player Donnell Wallam, who shot the winning goal in a high-profile match against England. It led to an invitation to design the uniform worn by the Australian Diamonds at the 2023 Netball World Cup in South Africa.
“I've been creating all sorts of different art since I was a little kid. I learned my cultural art styles through my mother and father's sides at three or four – started learning symbols and storylines that have been passed down.”
Alkina is a very proud Yorta Yorta, Wemba Wemba, Mutthi Mutthi and Wiradjuri woman from her mother’s side and a proud Bunjalung & Wakka Wakka Woman from her father’s side.
Her work is also being recognised by a rising number of companies, such as Equity Trustees, Netball Victoria and the AFL Players’ Association, which have asked her to commission artwork for their RAPs.
The Equity Trustees RAP art, which Alkina created using digital tools on an iPad, centres around seven big gathering circles which represents people coming together to share culture, language, stories and dance.
The intricate design includes many symbols representing Australia’s waterways, Indigenous people and elders sitting beside waterways, and animals.
“Within the artwork I’ve placed symbols that represent kangaroos, emus, goanna tracks, and my long neck turtle which is a totem of mine – a part of the artist’s identity.”
There are also bigger symbols including U shapes, which represent an elder. The smaller rock shape details on the side represent oven mounds, which were traditionally used to cook food within the ground, while gum leaves are scattered throughout the design, representing cleansing.
Alkina Edwards artwork can be found at https://www.instagram.com/alkinascreations/ or https://www.yarn.com.au/pages/artist-alkina-edwards.
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