LOOK­ING FOR­WARD, LOOK­ING BACK NAIDOC

Week brings com­mu­nity to­gether:

Central and North Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - Philippe Co­querand philippe.co­querand@cnbtimes.com.au

NAIDOC cel­e­bra­tions got started in Eidsvold with the open­ing of an art ex­hi­bi­tion at the RM Wil­liams Cen­tre.

The Serv­ing Coun­try pho­to­graphic ex­hi­bi­tion serves to ac­knowl­edge the valu­able con­tri­bu­tion of Aboriginal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der ser­vice­men and women who have served or who are serv­ing in the Aus­tralian De­fence Force.

Wil­son Se­cu­rity’s na­tional in­dige­nous en­gage­ment man­ager James Mi Mi was also a serv­ing sol­dier and said the event was to cel­e­brate in­dige­nous peo­ple.

“NAIDOC Week is all about cel­e­brat­ing our peo­ple and puts it out there that peo­ple need to un­der­stand our cul­tures and that we have to live to­gether,” he said.

“The event ran re­ally well. We had a huge crowd at­tend Eidsvold and then after­wards we had an­other tour group ar­rive for the spe­cial show­ing.”

Pho­tog­ra­pher Belinda Ma­son said the chance to show­case the ex­hi­bi­tion in Eidsvold was very mov­ing.

“The ex­hi­bi­tion serves as a plat­form for shar­ing of sto­ries, both in­spir­ing and dev­as­tat­ing. Aboriginal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der dig­gers have served our na­tion for more than a cen­tury – from South Africa and Gal­lipoli, the trenches of Bel­gium and France and the bat­tle­fields of Korea and Viet­nam to the rocky deserts of Afghanistan,” Mrs Ma­son said.

“The ex­hi­bi­tion high­lights the fact that Aboriginal and Tor­res Strait Islanders served in Aus­tralia’s de­fence forces even be­fore they were granted the most ba­sic rights of cit­i­zen­ship in the late 1960s.”

In the past few years, the por­traits have been dis­played in different places through­out the na­tion to recog­nise the con­tri­bu­tion of in­dige­nous sol­diers.

“Dur­ing 2014 NAIDOC, West­ern Syd­ney Univer­sity ex­hib­ited 20 of the por­traits, which were printed on 60cm x 40cm brushed steel pan­els,” Mrs Ma­son said.

“In con­junc­tion with the 2015 An­zac cel­e­bra­tions, Pen­rith Re­gional Gallery fea­tured the works as part of their ex­hi­bi­tion Home/Front.

“Dur­ing 2015 NAIDOC Week, with the as­sis­tance of the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs, the por­traits were ex­hib­ited at the head­quar­ters of the Depart­ment of De­fence in Can­berra.”

The pho­to­graphic works were proudly dis­played along­side the paint­ings of Aunty Hazel Cow­burn at Gayn­dah be­fore go­ing on dis­play in Eidsvold.

PHOTO: ADAM MCCLEERY

IM­POR­TANT OC­CA­SION: Ger­rald Lasserre hav­ing a great time at Gayn­dah cel­e­bra­tions.

FACES OF HONOUR: Por­traits of ADF mem­bers, in­clud­ing Cole Wat­ego, went on dis­play in the Serv­ing Coun­try ex­hi­bi­tion at the RM Wil­liams Cen­tre for NAIDOC Week.

PHO­TOS: BELINDA MA­SON

Di Ry­der.

Vern Hop­kins.

Alan Hamil­ton.

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