Art meets rights at Tandanya

29 March 2016

To accompany the revised Charter of Rights to be tabled in Parliament early this year will be a new set of posters and other materials.  Guardian’s Office Advocates, graphic designers and an Indigenous consultant met with a small group of young Aboriginal people in care in January 2016 to discuss what would appeal and get the rights message across.

Passing things on is what culture is about – young people are our future.

Patrick Fergusson, Aboriginal artist

A chance encounter with Adnyamathanha and Pitjantjatjara artist Patrick Fergusson who had an exhibition at Tandanya when the consultation was taking place gave the young people and the designers a the opportunity to speak to a practicing Aboriginal artist. Patrick explained that he works from found native timbers that he turns into traditional artefacts featuring designs handed down to him by his Elders.

desk at Tandanya consultation 2016

Some of the suggestions from the consultation were:

  • handprints with sayings inside of them
  • hand drawn images – they are made by heart, computer generated images are made by nothing
  • circles – maroon, darker and lighter (circles keep on going, squares have stopping points)
  • border in black
  • rainbow serpent around the poster
  • brush strokes in different shades of the same colour
  • strong dark background with white outlines of design to stand out
  • must have animals – Kangaroo, Wombat, Emu, Lizard, Black Swan, Ibis
  • how about using symbols (examples : the Meeting Place, the Sitting Place, Women Gathering, Men Gathering). 
  • use textures like sand, ocean, rock, water, nature

Jodie headshot-circular.


Huge thanks to the young people for their great ideas and enthusiasm on the day.  Also to Melissa from our office, Tony from CAMHS (Indigenous consultant to the project), designers Sue and Chris and to Patrick.

Jodie Evans, Senior Advocate

This article originally appeared in the February 2016 Guardian’s Newsletter.

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