Artist lends eye to company’s first reconciliation plan
AN INDIGENOUS artist with family links to Bowen has loaned her creative eye to a reconciliation plan that aims to help boost cultural acknowledgment and awareness.
Artist and designer Casey Coolwell a Quandamooka, Nunukul woman with traditional ties to North Stradbroke Island on her father's side and linkages to the Aboriginal and South Sea Islander people of Bowen and Mardigan people of Eulo through her mother's side, created artwork for the Reconciliation Action Plan.
North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation worked with traditional owners to release the document aimed toward building opportunities and awareness.
Ms Coolwell created original artwork for the plan and has explained the meaning behind her piece.
"The artwork represents the communities of NQBP's ports (Mackay, Weipa, Abbot Point and Hay Point) and their surrounding waters," Ms Coolwell said.
"In our Aboriginal Dreaming we believe that when we pass away, we come back as an animal or plant.
"The turtle in the art piece represents an ancestral being protecting the surrounding waters.
"The yellow rock pattern represents a traditional fish trap.
"This holds valuable knowledge of how people hunted and gathered, using natural resources.
"Learning how the fish trap works and maintaining its powerful knowledge is indicated in the gathered dots outside the fish trap."
Ms Coolwell said the coloured icons in the piece signified the four different communities covered by NQBP.
NQBP CEO Nicolas Fertin said the NQBP Reconciliation Action Plan 2020 to 2022, released during NAIDOC Week, built on the organisation's existing relationships with traditional owners in its port communities throughout Queensland.
"It includes engaging staff and stakeholders in reconciliation and developing and piloting innovative strategies to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples," he said.
"Our vision for reconciliation is to build sustainable and meaningful partnerships and relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
"We will strive to enhance reconciliation through embracing diversity, building respect and providing equitable opportunities.
"The development of the RAP included engagement with our traditional owner groups: Juru at Abbot Point, Yuwi at Mackay and Hay Point and the Algnith and Wik Waya at Weipa."
Endorsed by Reconciliation Australia, NQBP's RAP outlines the actions the organisation will take under the key focus areas of relationships, respect, opportunities and governance.
NQBP's RAP is available here.