The moment we have been waiting for – the announcement of our 2019 SAHSSI Aboriginal Art Competition!

This is Allison Day, a proud Dunghutti and Biripi woman who was born in Port Kembla and always lived in the Illawarra;

“My mum is Dunghutti from Kempsey, dad Biripi from Wauchope. I lost mum at an early age. Dad worked hard to support my brother, two sisters and myself.   I finished year twelve and started working at various jobs. I met my partner, Derek and he introduced me to his mother. She is one of the artists at Coomaditchie. She suggested I try painting and became my mentor. Since then I have found the peace and serenity I have been searching for through my painting, weaving, pottery and mosaics. Through art I have learned about my people, culture, symbols and what they represent. I feel joy in creating art related to my culture. I hope I give the same joy to others. Since I started at Coomaditchie I haven’t looked back. Always looking forward to the future”.

Thank you for sharing your story Allison! SAHSSI found more than joy in the artwork you have created!

When SAHSSI first began reaching out to the community to talk about our commitment to reconciliation, feedback we received from the community was to start by reflecting on SAHSSI’s vision purpose and values.

SAHSSI’s vision is a world where ALL people live safely, independently and free from abuse.

Our purpose is to provide housing and access to related, relevant services in the Illawarra Shoalhaven districts especially those women and their children affected by domestic and family violence. We work with all partners of excellence to assist our clients achieve their goals.

Our values; self-determination, respect, dignity, integrity, equity and compassion.

Our competition called for emerging Aboriginal artists to share their culture through their art, and through their artistic self-expressions, reflect and share their own thoughts about SAHSSI’s values and the purpose.

Allison shared the following expressions through her artworks;

“The painting depicts the changing life cycles through coming together, walking together – taking pathways that lead us to SAHSSI centres. The women who are reaching out, branching out into our ever-changing communities. These centres have created pathways for women with young children, single women and youth. They are given hope and care coming out of domestic and family violence. This becomes the first step of their safety net – to a life of non-violence”.

This artwork is called; Changing Life Cycles and it will take pride and place within each of our centres. It is beautiful and shows a story that includes strength, connection, safety, togetherness, hope and healing.

SAHSSI is truly inspired by all of the emerging artists who entered the competition. Not only for putting emotions, expressions and paint to canvas but for sharing many deep messages and sentiments in relation to the powerful healing tool that is; connection to culture (art being one spiritually empowering form of connection and healing).

We are in awe of the continuing strength and resilience of the Aboriginal community across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven, shining through emerging artists, shining through mentors and leaders, shining through the community and their country.

Thank you Allison for sharing your expressions, your culture, your art. Thank you to ALL of the emerging artist entrants for sharing your expressions, your culture, your art.