Artwork illustration of Yamaji learning

Midwest Times
Yamaji artists Barbara Merritt and Margaret Whitehurst, traditional owner Fred Taylor and Department of Water and Environmental Regulation staff including Mike Rowe.
Camera IconYamaji artists Barbara Merritt and Margaret Whitehurst, traditional owner Fred Taylor and Department of Water and Environmental Regulation staff including Mike Rowe.

Yamaji artists and Department of Water and Environmental Regulation staff have completed a painting depicting the value of water to the indigenous community in the Mid West.

Water licensing program manager Fleur Coaker said the painting took about two months to complete and involved four Aboriginal artists and the contributions of 16 of the department’s staff.

She said while the painting was uniquely beautiful, the real value of the project was the ability for staff to connect with Aboriginal culture, people and stories while painting alongside the fourartists.

“The Yamaji artists surprised us by inviting our staff to participate in painting the piece with them –— which created an amazingly positive and collaborative environment,” Ms Coaker said.

“Local DWER staff and others visiting for training days were invited to spend an hour or so with the artists, painting and talking — learning about traditional owners of this region and forming friendships.

The painting was recently unveiled at the department’s Geraldton office in celebration of National Water Week.

“The intention behind this painting was to inspire our staff to connect with local Aboriginal people and value the knowledge they offer us as we manage the region’s environment and water resources,” he said.

“DWER’s recently released Reconciliation Action Plan calls for better engagement.”

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