About the artwork

Read the Artist Valerie Ah Chee's statement

This artwork represents the strength and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in respect to our birthing and parenting over the generations.

The tree is strong and healthy and has strong roots that are embedded deeply in country, culture and family.

The trunk is strong, sturdy and enduring and a family is represented here:  pregnant mother, father and child supported by the roots and each person, an integral part of community.

In the top left corner, we start with communities, represented by circles that make up the foliage of the tree. This foliage starts out grey and muted with pops of colour representing our traditional knowledge, birth rites and practices emerging from trauma and hardship, knowledge that has always been there, but has been lying dormant until the time was right to emerge.

As this foliage moves across to the right, it blooms with strength, health and colour and are connected to form a beautiful and vibrant canopy, supported by the sturdy trunk and ancient roots. This foliage drops seeds so that other trees, the saplings seen here, can grow and stand strong.

The grey circles on the black background represent the birthing places  all over this land, connecting us again to country. In the earth, the circles represent the continuing birthing women, from generation to generation, unbroken with the smaller circles above and below representing our knowledge and strength as energy, passed on from our grandmothers and is never ending.

At the bottom of the picture are our ancestors, men and women, born from country and passing back into country, holding us up, protecting us  and making us strong.

In our lives we tap into this strength from our ancestors to keep us moving forward.

Artist: Valerie  Ah Chee