My artwork “Akutune” shows the face of my best friend, Ava, who is an Aboriginal girl from Arrente. My portrayal of her through my mixed media artwork reflects the adversities she has overcome continuously because of her culture and skin. I hope that one day Australia will be more encouraging for young Indigenous Australians to connect with their culture, and that the new generation of Indigenous Australians can rebuild on the wealth of knowledge and culture they have lost through colonisation. Akutune means not knowing in Arrernte, Ava’s native language. It reflects the loss of culture that is experienced all over Australia, and by extension the hundreds of Indigenous languages that have been lost. The background of my artwork portrays Ava’s home country that she longs to travel to, surrounded by words that have held her back from finding herself and her family’s story. Some of the words are misspelled, as a way to represent that racism comes from a place of being uneducated.
For me, the term reconciliation in Australia refers to the continuous process of fostering positive relationships among Australians of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous descent, recognising the past injustices and disadvantages experienced by Indigenous peoples, and promoting social, economic, and political equality. By addressing the effects of colonisation, fostering understanding, and upholding Indigenous cultures, languages, and customs, it seeks to build a cohesive and inclusive country. ”
Artist: Indiana Thom