The Government of South Australia is committed to the recognition and celebration of Aboriginal cultures as our First Nations people.
Reconciliation is an on-going journey that reminds us that generations of Australians have fought hard for meaningful changes and who support us to all join together and continue to strive for future gains.
Reconciliation gives us the opportunity to learn about shared histories, cultures and achievements and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.
The Department for Infrastructure and Transport and Adelaide Metro are proud to show our support of reconciliation and our ongoing pledge to valuing Aboriginal cultures.
In recognition of this, we have the privilege of showcasing artworks created by students from the Department for Education South Australian Aboriginal Secondary Training Academy (SAASTA) program
from across the state on one of our trams, in collaboration with Power Community Limited.
This striking tram will be operating through the city and along the Glenelg tram line from 22 May to 30 July 2023.
Artworks have also been installed on two City Connector buses which are now in operation around Kaurna Country, Adelaide and North Adelaide.
View the SAASTA students talk about their artworks and share their thoughts on reconciliation.
These artworks have been developed as part of a Year 10 SAASTA curriculum task and centred around the National NAIDOC Week theme for 2023, ‘For Our Elders’.
200 students engaged in the task and developed their individual artworks through workshops and collaboration with local aboriginal artists and Elders.
I have created this artwork about connection to Elders. The lower left circle shows Elders sitting together, telling stories which are then passed down for generations to come.
The four circles show different generations learning and sharing knowledge learnt from Elders.
Footsteps connect each generation showing how Aboriginal culture is kept alive.
Elders pass down knowledge about the land and waters, therefore the cool blue tones in the background represent water and waves.
I’ve also incorporated blue in the symbols to reflect Elders being calm and bringing peace to the family.
I have used smaller green dots blending with the background to represent the land.
Our Elders, Generational Knowledge
My inspiration in my Mirning and Kokatha language groups.
Yellow stars are Ancestors from the Seven Sisters Kokatha Dreaming, who we look up to and who follow our journeys.
Elders (middle symbol) are key, passing knowledge and wisdom like flowing water to surrounding community and from generation to generation.
The white outlining demonstrates the protection Elders provide and links to red-bellied black snake from a story shared with me, emphasising the vital role Elders play in protecting and sharing knowledge across generations, including knowledge about our Country (running water and tracks).
The Importance of Elders in Moving Forward
Elders keep culture alive, passing down knowledge, experience, language, stories and traditions, teaching about the past and how to embed culture into modern life.
My painting hints at a shared Dreaming story passed down in yarning circles. The rainbow gradient and hills reference the Rainbow Snake and creation of the Flinders Ranges.
The sky, stars, land, water and tracks represent the significance of Country, and the knowledge Elders pass down about the land we live on and care for, including seasons and animal identification, behaviour and movement.
The Elders crouched pose reflects how they teach, show and mentor about Culture, amongst the people and involved in Community.
Listening to our Elders Stories Through Time
Elders impact Community, promote Aboriginal right, share knowledge and keep Culture alive.
I am still learning my Culture and Elders have help me become a proud Aboriginal person.
Different Aboriginal symbols are used in my design. Central wavey lines represents long distances travelled by Elders to spend time with people in and outside of their Communities to pass down knowledge.
The travelling circle represents where Elders from different language groups sit, share stories and strengthen culture.
Light blue arches symbolise cleansing and warding off bad spirits so Aboriginal people can move forward peacefully.
The colours reflect the blues of the ocean near my home and school.
For Our Elders
The NAIDOC theme ‘For Our Elders’ implies acknowledgement and paying respects to Elders in our communities who carry vital information about history and cultures, which they pass on through stories, practices and ceremonies, bringing communities and generations together.
My art piece includes symbols representing different communities connected through stories and culture.
Within the symbols, different dots represent the different roles Elders play within communities and the colours in the background reflect the colours of the different lands we live and learn on.
Watching Over Us
Drawing on the flag, black represents the night sky and the red, sandy soil on the earth is seen in the rusty brown, emphasised by tress to showcase the Outback landscape.
The central sun blends with the land, connecting earth and sun. Emu tracks leading up symbolise collections and cycles of knowledge Elders keep, while kangaroo tracks travel down, representing knowledge passed down through generations.
Traditional white symbols are stars that form trails to make galaxies, symbolising the Milky Way and other constellations important to the Dreaming.
The symbols made up of stars are Elders ‘watching over us’ bright in the sky. They surround the Sun, the protector and giver of all life.
Our Elders are important in our Culture and every part of my artwork connects back to them, represented by the large circle in the centre.
The other central circles reflect the next generations: the smallest circle represents the kids and the medium is our parents.
A river runs through the middle with spears, showing how to catch food like fish.
Campsites on the riverbanks represent where I’m from – Murray Bridge on Ngarrindjeri Land.
I live on one side of the river and the rest of my family is on the other side. Animals are alongside the river drinking water.
My painting captures life’s journey and the role of Elders in shaping younger generations, handing them responsibility to continue learning culture and passing knowledge to the next generation.
A fish (our Elders) travels through the sea, a trail that reflects the past, present and future and the lessons and knowledge gathered on their journeys.
Two sea turtles (younger generations) swim towards this trail, beginning their journeys influenced by the wisdom of Elders.
White circles symbolise the knowledge we collect on our travels, while white strands highlight we all take different life directions.
Even so, we can always be connected and can learn from our Elders.
Nana’s Dreaming’ reflects the significant role Elders play as guides, teachers, strength and support in our lives as Aboriginal people.
In my artwork, the sun represents the desert, important Country to many Aboriginal people, while the moon represents journeys made at night, often made possible through a deep understanding of the night sky.
The weaving track symbolises a travelling route and represents a story passed on from Elders and followed by generations of people.
The four meeting places represent family groups connecting and sharing resources found on the land.
The symbols of bush tucker reflect the important cultural knowledge about food sources passed down through generations by Elders, our knowledge keepers and teachers.
For Our Elders
Elders give knowledge and guidance through connection.
This sharing of knowledge is an exchange in which people are curious about the knowledge Elders hold and what they have to teach, as well as grateful for allowing them to hold this knowledge and pas it on to others.
Curiosity lets us ask Elders what we want to know about Culture and gratitude lets us appreciate Culture and be thankful for what we’ve been taught.
You can view the 2022 SAASTA Reconciliation tram artworks and stories here.