Indigenous Student Art competition winner and entrants

Congratulations to Michellie Charvat for her artwork “Ancient Wisdom”.

Congratulations to Michellie Charvat for her winning entry to our Indigenous Student Art Exhibition.

Ancient Wisdom by Michellie Charvat

Ancient Wisdom by Michellie Charvat Ancient Wisdom ©2022 by Michellie Charvat used with permission from artist.

Michellie Jade Charvat, is a proud Palawa, Tasmanian Islander woman. Her Aboriginal heritage comes from her grandma’s side of the family. She was born and raised in the NT until moving to Bendigo in 2012. In 2018 she commenced her Bachelor of Creative Arts degree and, while studying is also working as a Koorie Education Worker. Education, art and culture are her greatest passions.

This painting explores the way Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples traditionally and continue to pass down ancient or generational wisdom, connect with each other and their communities, teach their children and listen to the elders.

Trees are a major part of our culture; they were used as landmarks, birthing places, meeting places, shelter and so much more throughout history. Trees continue to be a major and integral part of rediscovering and continuing the oldest living culture in the world. It is poetic how trees are the connection between traditional ways of learning and teaching and the modern way of learning and teaching. We used to meet and learn under a tree, and now we meet in the Library, and those trees that are now books hold the knowledge, stories and discoveries we seek.

This is why a beautiful big tree is the focal point for this piece; it represents the sacredness trees hold in our culture and to our people. It’s the beginning of a new life, learning from an old life or becoming a new form entirely. This beautiful symbol of knowledge and wisdom, the tree, is one that anyone can connect to from any walk of life or cultural background.

The Handprint represents Community; people gathering and sitting around sharing, communicating, learning and discovering; this part of the artwork represents the Library as a meeting place. The symbols at the very top are the symbol for ‘star’ which represents the ancestors and their wisdom. The purple pattern was strategically painted in a gender-neutral colour because it symbolises growth in all forms.

The colours are vibrant and contemporary to challenge the perception of Aboriginal art being earthy and dots; as an Aboriginal Artist, I like to challenge what is understood to be Aboriginal art.

Thank you to everyone else who participated in the competition. We were truly impressed with all the entries and how creative they were. We want to thank you for your time and effort.

Look Beyond the Page by Gabriel Van Steenis

Look Beyond the PageLook Beyond the Page ©2022 by Gabriel Van Steenis used with permission from artist.

Gabriel is 20 years old and has a deep-rooted love for drawing and painting.

She said she entered the competition to expand her horizons and try out different techniques of art and painting. She wanted to explore her Indigenous culture in its own style and expressed that this was all about making an effort to try.

Gabby said that even if hers isn’t the “best”, she knows that she put her heart and soul into her painting and she is proud either way.

A Slice of Time by Jayde Hopkins

A Slice of Time Slice of Time ©2022 by Jayde Hopkins used with permission from artist.

Artist Jayde Hopkins is a proud Gurindji and Woolwonga woman from the Northern Territory. She is studying a Bachelor of Biological Sciences at La Trobe and creates art under her persona Nawula Almaren Aboriginal Art.

This painting, A Slice Of Time, shows the deep history and knowledge passed down and across generations through songlines. They criss-cross and run all over the country in differing directions, tracing the journeys of creator beings, holding memories of our elders song and dance, each bursting with deep knowledge of the land and environment.

I find songlines to be a visual representation of the library as an open place for the sharing of knowledge and community, of curiosity of the big questions, discoveries about each other and the world we inhabit.

The Two Truths by Tiffany Green

The Two TruthsThe Two Truths ©2022 by Tiffany Green used with permission from artist.

This artwork represents the theme “the library as a place for knowledge and community through sharing, curiosity and discovery from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective” showing two sides of the story of colonisation.

The left-hand side is the original story that was shared in books from the coloniser’s perspective, which represents a somewhat peaceful story of an “uninhabited land” that was then shared among Aboriginal people and white settlers.

The right-hand side is the story that is being shared more often now in many stories and books by Aboriginal people. This side is represented by a river separating both groups that is red in colour to represent the bloodshed and lives lost as a result of colonisation.

The artwork also shows symbols that represent loss and destruction of land, culture and native species. A story of truth-telling that should be acknowledged in order to move forward.

Knowledge by Alex Honeysett

KnowledgeKnowledge ©2022 by Alex Honeysett used with permission from artist.

Alex Honeysettm is a Wiradjuri woman and a Third Year Bachelor of Education (Secondary) student.

This artwork is titled “Knowledge” and is comprised of three pieces of acrylic paint on canvas.

The middle piece of this work features gathering places with many people, symbolising the library as a gathering place where students from all walks of life come together to share their knowledge and learn from one another. There are connecting long journeys surrounding the gathering places and across all three canvases to show how education is an interconnected journey with many stops and places to branch out.

The left canvas has a silhouette of Bunjil the Eagle, the creator spirit who brought life to our people and places.

The right has a silhouette of Waa the Crow, the protector, and a cunning and intelligent creature with prescient knowledge. These two symbolise the creation and protection of our accumulated knowledge systems and the journey that our path to education takes us on.

No further reproduction is permitted without permission from the artist.

Photos by Sebastian Kainey.