An impressive new Aboriginal Art Space has opened on the ground floor of the Sale Hospital.
The official opening was held on Friday December 19 at CGHS with guests including Wellington Mayor, Cr Carolyn Crossley.
Local Elder Irma Pepper and CGHS Aboriginal Liaison Officer Sandra Neilson performed the traditional “Welcome to Country” then Sandra and Director of Community Services Mandy Pusmucans welcomed guests and introduced CGHS Board Chair Glenn Stagg.
Glenn said providing “a welcoming environment for Aboriginal people” was a key component of the CGHS Health Plan 2012-2022.
Glenn acknowledged the traditional owners of the land, the Gunai/Kurnai people and paid respects to the Elders both past and present.
He said CGHS sought to provide health and community services to best meet the needs of the community. “We want all individuals to feel that they are valued, supported and have the opportunity to participate,” he added.
“We want to continue to support our Aboriginal community in gaining substantial improvements in their health and wellbeing. We have worked hard on this over the years.”
Glenn listed the many initiatives of CGHS to embrace the local Aboriginal community. He acknowledged the support and encouragement of the ATSI Advisory Committee in establishing the Aboriginal Art Space, describing it as “the next step in our journey”.
The permanent display component of the space includes the National Apology, ceramic artwork presented to CGHS at the 2013 NAIDOC Week Flag Raising Ceremony by the Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation and a plaque which defines local tribes.
The area also has a rotating display of art works by local Aboriginal artists. The current display is just the start with pieces changing as more local artists choose to hand their works in the space.
There is also a large mural displayed on the wall near the kiosk. This community art project was led by artists and ATSI Advisory Group members, Deb Leon and Jodie Douthat, with contributions from a number of local Aboriginal people, CGHS Board members and staff.
The beautiful mural depicts the health service as a “central meeting place” with the footprints as the journey through. Handprints depict the coming together of the community and the health service. “The words are our values and your experience as you pass through,” it reads.
“We are pleased to take this important step in our journey and trust that you will enjoy the spaces,” Glenn told guests.
An outline of the work of the ATSI Advisory Committee was given by two of its members Terry O’Shannassy and Lynette Bishop.
Cr Crossley praised the “fantastic initiative”. She said the Wellington community vision closely aligned with the CGHS Strategic Plan 2014 and Health Plan 2012-2022.
“Both refer to the importance of supporting our local culture and providing a healthy community where everyone feels valued, supported and has the opportunity to participate.
“This Aboriginal Art Space will support both the CGHS Strategic Plan and Wellington 2030, celebrating through art, the traditional custodians and our local Aboriginal people.”
Deb and Jodie then spoke about the art works including the mural followed by the official launch by Irma, Glenn and Cr Crossley.
Finally, a thank you was given by Sandra and Mandy to CGHS Board Members, staff and volunteers who took part in the Art Space opening. Also to community members who supported the day and to the CGHS engineering department for playing a major role in the display.
Pictured below are: the artwork; Irma Pepper and Sandra Neilsen; and Deb Leon and Jodie Douthat.