Den Fisher, Judy Moriarty and Celia.

Den Fisher, Judy Moriarty and Celia.

Well it’s a wrap. The Keys To Our Country Portraits have come down from the walls at Deloitte and been dispersed to their new owners around the country to keep creating positive conversations about Aboriginal Culture.

This project has been rich with learning, new friendships, greater empathy and the joy that comes from being engaged in something you believe in. There have been hopes raised and dashed too which feed the learnings of how to do better next time.

I had three objectives for the series. To acknowledge and say thanks to individuals who are teaching others about Aboriginal culture; to create more positive conversations about Aboriginal culture and to raise funds for Yalari.  It has been richly rewarding, exhausting and fun.

Again I would like to thank the participants. It takes guts to put your head above the parapet, to being singled out for honour, but every time someone does all of their pack feels the honour.

Bruce Pascoe Major Lancelot Sumner AM Waverley Stanley AM Deborah Cheetham AO Veronica Barnett Leila Gurruwiwi Tyrone Bean Tiffany Garvie John Patten Gina WIlliams Den Fisher Jamie Marloo Thomas

And thank you too for following the project and being part of it’s progress. My next series of portraits Leading Women’s Profile is focused on gender balance and was hung on the day these portraits came down - International Women’s Day 2019 March 8. It is up until April 8 and is almost all sold to raise funds for Bridge of Hope who help vulnerable youth.

I regularly catch up with Den Fisher for a coffee. It was his request to paint him after I said ‘I paint natives’ Meaning flora - oops) that got the whole project going. Den’s portrait with his keys pride of place is up at ‘3KND Cool n Deadly’ where he has worked as a DJ since the stations inception over 20 years ago. Den has some ideas for further artistic work together so the project could continue to grow in some form …

The Exhibition in NAIDOC at Deloitte 2-18 July

This time last year I had not even conceived of anything like this exhibition.  It is exciting to see  the exhibition up looking beautiful .  Tiffany came and photographed the portraits for the exhibition booklet and for the posters on each floor of Deloitte Melbourne that showcase the portraits and their stories. Clients at the Deloitte visitor Centre are giving great feedback.  People are learning more positive stories about Aboriginal culture in action today.

David, Anthony and Simon doing a great job of hanging Keys To Our Country for NAIDOC at Deloitte Melbourne L10, 550 Bourke St.

The portraits have the story of the  person painted posted next to them and a QR code so the viewer can watch the time lapse video of the picture being painted and listen to the singing of that person or music by Gordon Harvey and Aquiline.

As I have said before reconciliation is complex.  One part is recognition of history as it happened.  The part this exhibition focuses on is on applauding those Aboriginals who are helping us build stronger futures through bringing their culture into their work and being open to helping the broader community learn more about Aboriginal Culture.

I hope that more people will take an Aboriginal Heritage Tour at the Botanic Gardens, or the Museum, or seek out books like Bruce Pascoe's Dark Emu to learn more about history as it happened.  Learning more about the land on which we live can have unexpected benefits.  Try it - you won't be disappointed.

My thanks to Deloitte for their generosity in hosting the exhibition and joining their RAP - Reconciliation Action Plan, with mine.  Special thanks to Adrian Gardiner and Rob Pluchinotta for their energy and great work in getting the exhibition up.  May their community actions go from strength to strength.

The paintings are for sale at 32Auctions.com/keys with the profits going to Yalari for Aboriginal Education.

Meta Tiffany - Tiffany photographing Tiffany photographing...

Meta Tiffany - Tiffany photographing Tiffany photographing...

Savouring the moment with Den's portrait just as we finished hanging the exhibition.

Savouring the moment with Den's portrait just as we finished hanging the exhibition.



We Are On Our Way

The launch of ‘Keys To Our Country’ was a moving and happy event.  Den Fisher presided with a smoking ceremony that gave the event gravitas – it drew people in to the meaning of the project – all Australians celebrating aboriginal heritage and being part of that culture.

Den’s portrait was unveiled and the project explained to the group assembled. It was very encouraging to hear the comments of support and well wishing.  All present were encouraged to sign up to the Keys to Our Country website in order to get updates as each portrait is done.  Each update will explain the work of that individual and help us all learn more and be able to create meaningful conversations around the strengths of Aboriginal culture. 

We all shared lemon myrtle muffins and tea and those congregated took away a Celia Moriarty Art 2018 calendar.