The NADA team worked closely with the Kempsey Hospital Aboriginal Advisory Group, project management team and staff at Kempsey Hospital to produce meaningful Aboriginal designs for the Kempsey Hospital upgrade.
The Kempsey Hospital Aboriginal Advisory Group alongside NADA worked to identify local Aboriginal artists and cultural elements to create a cultural design collaborative to be used within the new hospital. Consultation with key Dunghutti Elders provided additional local cultural knowledge and advice.
The NADA managed artist collaboration saw four Dunghutti artists (Beverly Hoskins, Esther Quinlin, John Kelly and Elwyn Toby) come together to share their creative and cultural skills to interpret the vision of the Advisory Group and Elders into two contemporary Aboriginal designs etched onto large glass panels at the entrance of the hospital, the emergency department and main foyer. The designs represent stories of healing and place for the local Dunghutti people inspiring pride and ownership. NADA are grateful to Nanette Backhouse from SASO Creative for her graphic design expertise through this process.
The first design, Journey into Healing, featuring Gurrgiyn the praying mantis and totem of the Dunghutti people, welcomes you as you enter the hospital on a glass pane 5 metres long by 3 metres high. The second design, Dunghutti River Healing, appears on glass in the foyer of the hospital separating the reception area and the emergency department, this design is particularly impressive on glass 12 metres long by 3 metres high. Both designs impressive in their scale, displaying significant cultural stories in a public space.
Journey into Healing combines the elements of the sun, giver of light and life: the lines representing each individual’s journey through life; the Waratah flower a symbol of healing and beauty with Gurrgiyn, the Praying Mantis, a totem of the Dunghutti people performing the dance of healing.
Dunghutti River Healing tells a story of healing as you enter the flow of the Dunghutti River, combining the elements of life; water, earth, the fish and healing plants all bringing healing as you journey along the river.
The stories reflecting the designs were translated to Dunghutti language by Aunty Esther Quinlin and Caroline Bradshaw of the Dhanggati Language Group, with the translated story screen-printed onto the glass adding to the design. You can see the story in language as it flows through the design as part of the healing river: Yalaan guungangu Dunghuttigu Bithagu Mulan waadhugatinun nyina ngaruru, barriyu mandharru giidhuru marrungmatiyn nganhang Nyina manhatitiyn bithara
NADA in collaboration with SASO Creative and One Printing & Signage then produced a 2.4 metre long by 0.5 metre high glass installation displayed in the foyer of the new hospital building, telling the story of the designs and the artists involved in the project. The installation is a double layer of glass, with the two designs sandblasted onto the rear glass whilst the artist photos, biographies and the stories accompanying the designs were printed onto the front glass. The two pieces of glass are attached to the wall by stainless steel studs giving a floating effect and emulating the designs etched onto the glass panelling in the entrance of the hospital.
NADA also managed the purchase, framing and installation of the five original artworks used in the creation of the two designs. These artworks are displayed in the first floor waiting area and complete the healing journey.
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The designs represent stories of healing and place for the local Dunghutti people inspiring pride and ownership.