Commissioned by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to celebrate NAIDOC Week, Journey’s Connections is a digital artwork and story by Churchill Fellow and Aboriginal artist Susan Betts.
Journey beyond the possibilities
To make the connections
To seek, share and gather
To enrich and grow
Our strong generations for the Future
Susan Betts, Wiyana Spirit Creative 2019
Susan received a Churchill Fellowship in 2018 to investigate sites relating to the Seven Sisters star constellation. She travelled from her home in Streaky Bay in South Australia to Canada, Egypt, the UK and Ireland in 2019.
“As an Wirangu women I felt proud and honoured to have received the Churchill Fellowship and to be able to go on a journey to research a subject that is so close to my heart and my culture.
The Seven Sisters story songline is a very significant one, and many Indigenous cultures have connections to it and stories of it. I believe that by sharing our reflections and various understandings we can inform and strengthen our own cultural identities.”
“My aim on returning home is to share these reflections, and the stories of the people and the cultures and the countries that I visit with Indigenous and non-Indigenous people – children in particular.”
With a star featuring at the centre, Susan’s artistic creation beautifully references her Fellowship focus. As Susie explains, she is drawn to the stars, and they appear as features in many of her artworks.
“The star for me is a symbol of wisdom and knowledge, and aspiring to greater heights. It’s also a reminder of how we are all connected and grounded on this earth”.
“I really wanted this work to represent a journey or a story that connects with all cultures”.
Born in Port Lincoln, Susan Betts’ cultural ties are with the Wirangu, Mirning and Kokatha people of the Far-West Coast of South Australia.
Susan has been painting and designing for many years. In her business Wiyana Spirit Creative (Wiyana meaning woman), she blends old and new, working in many mediums, including paintings, prints, digital graphics, portraits and landscapes, photography, poetry and story-telling.
With her Aboriginal cultural heritage background, in her artwork Susan expresses her connection to culture, country and spirit in a way she hopes will inspire and enable healing. As she explains, she aspires “to create, design and express a oneness of spirit, a connection to land, sea, flora, fauna & people that will extend from her heart, to touch and heal others.”
Susan also conducts cultural painting workshops in schools and various groups, teaching indigenous and non-indigenous students about Aboriginal art, culture, and design, and the diversity and values of her culture both past and present. To view more artwork from Susie and stay up to date with her Fellowship journey, visit her facebook page “Wiyana Spirit”.
Susan was recently featured on ABC’s Seven Sisters Songline ‘Seven Sisters starts creation story reconnecting people to their country after clifftop massacre taboo lifted’