Mon. May 20th, 2024

Local artist, Jaz Taylor, has created a work of art to remember current Anaiwan Elders of the Uralla area and their stories for future generations to pass down through time.

The painted canvas work is currently on display in the Uralla Visitor Information Centre, where it will remain until moved to its permanent home in the Uralla Community Centre. The idea for the artwork evolved from an Indigenous mental health day run by HealthWise.

“Those present were asked for ideas for a ‘Welcome to Anaiwan Country’ sign to welcome people to our community,” Artist Jaz Taylor said.

“We wanted something that would be looked at in the future to remember the elders now and the next generation can tell the stories of their Elders.”

“It is important to collect these stories, because we just never know how long we’ve got.”

The Rotary Club of Uralla have current grant funding for updating and improving the entry signage around the township of Uralla and are consulting with local groups for ideas. The local Elders of the Uralla area were engaging in an ‘ideas session’ about this project when inspiration struck. While discussing ideas around the local Totem animal, the echidna, the Elders were becoming very passionate about the possibilities of a design of their own being displayed and admired as visitors entered Uralla.

“There was a real energy and excitement in the room,” said Ms Taylor.

“Uncle Trevor Watkins was waving his hands around very animatedly while he was talking, and that’s when the idea of the handprints came to me. Both Uncle Trevor and Aunty Pam Meehan really liked the idea.”

Ms Taylor constructed the main design of the artwork, allowing space to collect and immortalise the Elders handprints. While all the local Elders were gathered in one place at the Uralla NAIDOC Week ceremony earlier this week, the artist put the finishing touches on this significant representation of local First Nations history. Sadly, there was one notable absence with Uncle Les Townsend being gravely ill. His handprint was added to the artwork in person a short time afterwards, to ensure his story will continue.

The Uralla Shire Council and management of the Uralla Visitors Information Centre requested the artwork be on display in the Visitors Information Centre as part of the NAIDOC Week recognition of the Anaiwan history in Uralla. Visitors can see this display, including this work of art, each day between 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 3pm on weekends.

Like what you’re reading? Support The New England Times by making a small donation today and help us keep delivering local news paywall-free. Donate now