This post was first published on Australian Apprenticeship Pathways website here
In November last year AATIS started the process of commissioning an Indigenous art piece, in which we could represent our acknowledgement of country and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people.
Alongside the National Aboriginal Design Agency (NADA), we shared our thoughts and concepts with Indigenous artists across Australia. The NADA is a design-based business that provide an income stream for Aboriginal artists plus create a solid licensing structure that protect both the artist and the client.
So many beautiful ideas and pieces were presented to us, which made choosing an artist to work with an extremely hard process! To make our final decision, we considered artists individual styles, stories, personalities and ultimately chose an artist who we felt the most connected to.
Tulli Stevens is an amazing Gumbaynggirr artist, located in Mullaway NSW, who creates intricate dot and continuous line paintings. Her paintings represent the complex, elemental beauty of patterns in nature, community connections, family and her journey. Tulli is passionate about creating a change and inspiring our younger generation to use art for communication, experimentation and to tell their story.
Tulli presented an art piece made for AATIS that, as she described, detailed:
The large central piece represents a meeting place, for people to come together and share their knowledge. The smaller circles around the outside are families, groups, and communities. The pathways connecting all of them together represent meaningful information and communications being shared and passed on through community. Showing that even with diversity we are all connected.
As AATIS is an information service that values accessible communication to all communities throughout Australia, we knew Tulli was the artist we wanted to work with. After months of discussing with Tulli and the NADA, we finally had our commissioned piece.
In honour of NAIDOC week, we are sharing this piece with you. We would like to celebrate the amazing artwork, stories and culture shared by Indigenous people across this incredible land. As a nation, lets continue to embrace this culture and encourage the continuation of Aboriginal traditions and life. We hope you feel inspired after seeing Tulli’s art, we sure know the team at AATIS are!
As a Dja Dja Wurrung woman in a corporate workplace, I am so thankful be surrounded by such supportive and encouraging colleagues. The AATIS team are constantly educating themselves on providing a culturally sensitive workplace, and always open when there is something they are uninformed about. They truly understand that you cannot simply know what you do not know, but also know that that is no excuse for ignorance and are accountable when they don’t understand or had a different understanding. I truly value honestly and the ability to speak up when either you don’t know something, or you are wrong. There are numerous ways to make a workplace a more generalised society, here are a few things AATIS has implemented:
- Cultural Sensitivity training via a third party
- Additional cultural leave
- Incorporating art and items representing different cultures in the office
- Encouraging and supporting workers with diverse backgrounds to identify with their cultures (if they chose to do so)
A special thank you to Tulli Stevens and Jane from the National Aborigional Design Agency for making this artwork happen.