16 Year Old Wins Art Competition To Promote Indigenous Health

Photo: Jerrika Pevitt - Grow Healthy Together Art Comp winner
Thursday, 6 July 2017
An artwork by a 16-year-old student will promote Indigenous health across the south-west after winning an inaugural competition.

Jerrika Pevitt’s Mootalarra Murmuration has been announced as the winner of a competition to create an artwork to show the commitment of south west Victorian organisations to Indigenous health. It was arranged by the GROW Healthy Together Indigenous Advisory 'Ka-ree-ta Ngoot-yoong Wat-nan-da’ Committee and auspiced by Portland District Health.

The winning artwork will used as the Indigenous visual identifier of health organisations in the GROW committee. The organisations in the advisory committee are PDH, Dhauwurd Wurrung Elderly and Community Health Service Inc, Windamara Aboriginal Corporations, Gunditj Mirring Aboriginal Corporation, Active Health Portland, Heywood Rural Health, Western District Health Service and Casterton Memorial Hospital.

The artwork has a background of gradient yellows to represent a sunrise and in the foreground is a flock of red tailed black cockatoos, representing coming together and releasing spirits into the sky.

Jerrika, a year 10 student at Monivae College, said the artwork was a symbolic reference to the commitment of the organisations and cooperatives as it displays the power of coming together and working as one.

Mootalarra means birds in the Dhauwurd Wurrung language; Murmuration is an English word for large flock of birds that fly as one, creating a cloud of birds.

“The repeated bird pattern was inspired by the Gunditj spirit and its support and empowerment that it portrays to our people and our land,” she said.

Jerrika has enjoyed a life-long love of art. “I’ve always found ways to draw and paint,” she said.

As a Gunditjmara person, singing in the Dhungala Indigenous choir has also allowed her to express stories through songs. “We’ve written songs about birds and their importance to our land in many different Indigenous cultures and languages. By illustrating these stories into art, I have found another way to express my culture.”

This was Jerrika’s first entry into an art competition.

PDH CEO Chris Giles said the winning artwork would reflect the core business of health and each organisation’s respect for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and the commitment to support and empower the health journey for all people.

“The core business of the committee is about health and wellbeing which involves the guidance of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, to include learning from each other, building and expanding health services within the region,” she said.

The winning artist received $1600 prize money for the purchase and exclusive use of the artwork.

Ms Giles said the artwork would be displayed in the organisations to assist in creating a culturally safe and welcoming environment that is sensitive to the cultural needs of its Aboriginal workforce and community.

The winner (Jerrika) was announced during PDH’s NAIDOC week celebrations on 5 July.

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