'Culture for Recovery' mural project unites Parndana community on Kangaroo Island

Parndana has once again been the centre of a joyous community collaboration thanks to the Culture for Recovery project and renowned Indigenous artist Cedric Varcoe.

Under Mr Varcoe's expert guidance, 170 students, teachers and community members participated in creating a mural that will hang permanently at Parndana campus of Kangaroo Island Community Education.

The mural will join the collaborative artwork put together by Varcoe from individual pieces made at the August weaving workshops on KI, to become community holdings.

Mr Varcoe, a Ramindjeri, Ngarrindjeri and Narangga man, has been painting since he was very young, inspired by his family and by the stories of creation areas such as the Lower River Murray, Lower Lakes to the Coorong, and over to Encounter Bay and Kangaroo Island.

He said that art is a pathway to share the message of how his ancestors created this land and everything that lives in it, and how it needs to be respectfully taken care of.

"It's been a deadly few days working with the school and community on the mural, sharing our symbols with them, and teaching how symbolism can be used to tell the story of country," Mr Varcoe said.

"Being an oral culture traditionally, symbols are an important part of sharing and teaching story lines.

"I had lots of amazing yarns with people and I am really happy with the feedback that people have enjoyed the positive activities that we have been running on our ruwe [country].

"I am looking forward to coming back in November to share the mural and its story with the wider community as part of NAIDOC week."

While on Kangaroo Island, Mr Vercoe also participated in the planting of sheaok trees to assist the recovery of the glossy black cockatoos, which happen to be his totem animal.

Kangaroo Island Community Education's head of Parndana campus, Matt Linn said the school was extremely privileged to have Cedric Varcoe as an artist in residence at Parndana Campus.

"Cedric spent three days alongside our classes working together to create a truly amazing piece of artwork," Mr Linn said.

"We have all learnt a huge amount from Cedric through his time with us and are deeply grateful for his willingness to teach and share his culture through the creation of this beautiful painting."

The whole school is looking forward to the official unveiling of the artwork along with the community weaving project during NAIDOC week in Week 5 of Term 4.

This project is being delivered by Smart Future Creative, in partnership with the Art Museum of Kangaroo Island, as its first artist in residence program.

It is supported by funding from the Regional Arts Fund through Country Arts SA, and the State Emergency Relief Fund Community Strength and Resilience Initiative, along with valuable support by Penny and David Paton.

Mr Varcoe will return in November to present the two collaborative pieces as part of NAIDOC week.

For more information please contact Sarah Kemp of Smart Future Creative at sarahkemp@smartfuture.com.au or 0147 805 899.

This story 'Culture for Recovery' mural project unites Parndana community first appeared on The Islander.