Chern’ee unveils a new painting in Canberra to celebrate Harmony Day and Close the Gap Day
ETB Travel News Ambassador and Contemporary Indigenous artist Chern’ee Sutton was honoured to have recently been commissioned by the Department of Veterans affairs to create an artwork that would reflect the Departments new Diversity and inclusion Strategy.
Chern’ee had to obtain permission from the Australian Army, Navy and Air Force to re-create their camouflage as part of the background in the artwork and Chern’ee officially unveiled the painting at a special reception in Canberra at The Department of Veteran Affairs Office Yesterday to not only celebrate the artwork but to also celebrate Harmony Day and Close the Gap Day.
The painting took 1 month to complete and many more weeks of research and planning and the Department will use the artwork on tie’s, scarves, letterheads and a range of products that will celebrate the 5 diversity groups in the Australian armed forces.
The story to the painting is below!
Diversity and Inclusion
My name is Chern’ee Sutton I am 22 years old and I am a contemporary Indigenous artist from the Kalkadoon people from the Mount Isa area in Queensland. This painting represents The Department of Veterans Affairs Diversity Strategy and is called “Diversity and Inclusion”.
In my painting the large community symbol on the top left hand side represents The Department of Veterans Affairs using blue, aqua, green, grey and maroon the colours of the DVA’s culture wheel which is surrounded by the Southern Cross which represents Australia.
The next five community symbols represent the five areas of diversity in order which are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, LGBTIQ+, Cultural and Linguistic Diversity, Disability Family and Carers, Gender Equality.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Symbol uses the colours from both flags paying respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultures and history and includes symbols for the boomerang, spear, shield and service men and women.
The LGBTIQ+ community symbol uses the colours from the pride flag and a rainbow poppy in the centre representing LGBTIQ+ service personnel. The DVA is fostering an environment in which staff who identify as LGBTIQ+ feel valued by promoting an inclusive working environment free from all forms of prejudice.
The Cultural and Linguistic Diversity community symbol uses colours from International flags and has people of all nationalities and backgrounds connected holding hands to utilise their knowledge, skills and experience.
The Disability Family and Carers community symbol uses open hands to represent the support from carers and the DVA who are committed to supporting people with a disability to be equal citizens within the DVA and wider Australia.
The Gender Equality community symbol represents equality between men, women and intersex genders (X). The DVA focuses on maintaining gender balance by developing a culture of inclusion that provides men, women and intersex with access to equal opportunities.
The white spirit trails that emanate from the Department of Veterans Affairs (top left) join and link all other diversity groups together and join them as one community within the DVA in the bottom right corner. This larger community symbol represents the Department of Veterans Affairs Diversity Strategy which includes colours from the DVA community as well as colours and symbols from each of the five areas of diversity.
The three areas of camouflage represent the three services within the Australian Defence Force which are Army, Navy and Air Force and the large dotted coloured circles in the background represent each of the eight Australian States and Territories.
The white and black mans footprints in the bottom left start walking their journeys separately and upon reaching war represented by the shield, spears, barbed wire and rifle the white and black man become brothers in arms on the battlefield walking side by side. The black and white footprints then walk together to the boomerang which represents the service men and women returning home, once they return home they still walk side by side as brothers and sisters with a deeper understanding and respect for each other. The twelve red, white and grey circles that are joined by the travelling lines represent the twelve main conflicts and wars that the Australian Defence Force has been involved in.
The kangaroo and emu footprint represent the Diversity and Inclusion staff network that is always moving forwards and never backwards and the two white, yellow and brown stars represent Leiutenant “Reg” Saunders and 2nd Leiutenant Alfred John Hearps who were the first Aboriginal Officers in the Australian armed forces.
The poppies and rosemary represents ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day and the fallen service men and women that were left behind and the two handprints together represent “Galumbany” ”Me, You, We, Together.
Read more on Chern’ee next week