UniSA – Indigenous Student Support Unit

INDIGENOUS STUDENT SUPPORT UNIT

Approached by The University of South Australia (UniSA) Community Arts and Youth Engagement was given the brief to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to create visual art work that would identify the Indigenous Student Support Unit. The creation of these pieces came from a need identified by students of a lack of presence and identity on campus. Working around the student’s schedules, 3 sessions were held to brainstorm and generate ideas, as it would be the students who would drive the initial ideas phase. Offering some guidance with the design, Narisha Cash offered ideas and theory on colours; images, patterns and symbols, which would help gradually, build up the framework of the pieces.

The students wanted the artwork to reflect on culture, their curriculum particularly health, history, their own background and to leave a lasting legacy for future students.

When ideas were pulled together, students took time out on their weekend to come to Tandanya and help paint the 2 pieces (2 panels made up 1 large painting) Incorporating different mediums such as aerosol paint and acrylics, the designs were laid down. The first design was the outline of Australia with stenciled hands and patterns with Kaurna language, which had all students help with. The second canvas was a tree with roots, which represented the student’s growth; all students helped and signed their name into the work. Both works feature themes of health, community, culture, education, resilience, growth, progress and connection to land, which was driven by students and painted by them with assistance from Narisha.