To help celebrate NAIDOC Week 2019, we are very pleased to announce and showcase a new digital artwork by 2018 Churchill Fellow and Aboriginal artist Susan Betts. Commissioned by the Churchill Trust, Susan’s work titled ‘Journey’s Connections’ is a contemporary design with an accompanying story.
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 Betts received a Churchill Fellowship in 2018 to investigate sites relating to the Seven Sisters star constellation. She will be travelling from her home in Streaky Bay in South Australia to Canada, the United States and Peru in late 2019. When we commissioned this work, we asked Susan to reflect on what the Churchill Fellowship means for her.
“As an Wirangu women I feel 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.”
“I’m really looking forward to returning home 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”.
We look forward to sharing ‘Journey’s Connections’ on our website and alongside our Acknowledgement of Country, and to following Susan’s Fellowship journey over the coming year.
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’
To help celebrate NAIDOC Week 2019 we are also very happy to profile two of our Indigenous Churchill Fellows, Mandy Young and Jessa Rogers. In addition to sharing their perspectives on this year’s NAIDOC theme ‘Voice – Treaty – Truth’, Mandy shares her stand out personal moments and some of the challenges she experienced on her Fellowship and Jessa shares some of her aspirations and Fellowship plans for her upcoming travels later this year.