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TAFE NSW students create Aboriginal artworks for Nowra bridge

TAFE NSW students create Aboriginal artworks for Nowra bridge

Traditional cultural stories of the Shoalhaven region will be told to locals and visitors for generations to come at a new bridge over the Shoalhaven River, in the form of public artworks created by Aboriginal art students at TAFE NSW Nowra.

Transport for NSW has invited the students to create concept artworks, with the chosen works to be considered to potentially feature on interpretative panels on the new Nowra bridge and surrounds.

The students have worked with Bidgigal elder Uncle Sonny Simms and the Djiriba Waagura group to inspect the site, learn the area’s stories and decide how to bring them to life in art.

TAFE NSW teacher Warwick Keen said his Certificate III and Certificate IV Aboriginal Cultural Arts students were honoured to be involved in the project.

“We have a large population of Aboriginal people in the area so it’s very rewarding to be working with them to tell their stories in a beautiful, inspiring way that will enable those stories to live on and to be enjoyed and understood by local people and visitors,” he said.

“It’s a great opportunity for the students to get hands-on learning and to see their work shared with the community in such a high-profile location.”

Student Anne-Mariee McIntosh, a Wiradjuri woman, said she was proud to be part of a group telling stories that are important to local Aboriginal people and the wider community.

“These works are going to be there forever, hopefully, so it’s amazing to be learning about the history of the area and being able to impart that knowledge through art to our children and their children,” she said.

“As students, we’re excited to be learning and working together to tell stories through our art.”

Alexandra Gaffikin from Artefact Heritage Services described the concept designs as beautiful images that celebrate the stories of local knowledge holders.

“This is a fantastic way to provide something special to the community by going on-country and finding inspiration not only for local people but also the huge numbers of tourists who visit Nowra,” she said.

The concept artworks designed by the TAFE NSW students will be incorporated into graphic designs for consideration to be potentially featured on panels installed on the new bridge or surrounding shared paths.

Media contact: Paul Terry, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, mobile 0419 618 599