A bespoke artwork which tells the story of Matthew Flinders Anglican College’s reconciliation journey and commitment to bringing people together has been unveiled to students, staff and special guests at a ceremony on Wednesday, 22 March 2023.
Titled 'Surrounded by our past, united by our future', the artwork was created in collaboration with students through Gilimbaa, a creative agency driven by the power and process of storytelling in the education and celebration of culture and community.
Gilimbaa was founded by Executive Director David Williams, a proud Wakka Wakka man and artist who is also an Old Flinderian alumnus.
David brings a lifetime of culture and connections to Gilimbaa and also drew upon his experiences attending Flinders from 1997 until graduation in 2000 in developing the artwork.
The artwork was commissioned as part of the Flinders Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to help strengthen relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the College.
By actively respecting, acknowledging, and recognising First Nations people and communities, Matthew Flinders Anglican College is united on a path towards a more reconciled Australia.
The artwork launch ceremony began with a moving Welcome to Country performed by traditional custodian and educator Lyndon Davis.
Reverend Kathrin Koning acknowledged the artwork was for all students and staff to appreciate and engage with, as they remained open to listening and learning through the College’s reconciliation journey.
David then shared a visual presentation, explaining the concept and narrative behind the artwork, which was created in 2022.
During the first stage of the project, David worked with students and staff of the Flinders RAP groups as part of a four-step engagement process—explore, gather, create and connect—towards creating the final piece.
The artwork tells a story deeply connected to place; originating on Kabi Kabi/Gubbi Gubbi Country on which the school stands and flowing from the traditions and stories that have existed here for countless generations.
David said, “This artwork is an act of reconciliation, and I am proud to be here today to reveal it to the College community.
“It was a delight to work with students and staff in workshops to understand the story of how the College community is connected and also how it is embarking on this reconciliation journey,” he said.
Students were excited to hear ideas from David and to imagine how the College could respectfully further use the artwork and its elements in various materials and applications to celebrate the reconciliation journey at Flinders.
Special guests at the ceremony included Mr Paul Paulson, Director of Indigenous Education, Anglican Schools Commission and Meredith Walker, Community member on the Flinders Reconciliation Action Plan Group.
The artwork’s symbolism captures and represents many elements of the College to explore where it has been in the past, where it is in the present, and where it wants to go in the future, including:
- First Nations peoples and community
- Commitment to Reconciliation, everyone feels included and promotes inclusivity
- Develop academic excellence and successful future leadership
- College values of Compassion, Courage, Integrity and Respect
- Grow and learn
- The Beast mascot
- Making connections, strengthening relationships
- Pillars of reconciliation
- Inspire our community
- Journey to connect
- Kangaroo tracks
To learn more about reconciliation in action at Flinders, please visit: https://www.mfac.edu.au/community/flinders-reconciliation-in-action/