Arabella Walker: Celebrating culture and pride through NAIDOC artwork

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In celebration of NAIDOC Week 2024, we partnered with emerging contemporary Aboriginal artist, Arabella Walker. Arabella is a proud Wulli Wulli, Auburn Hawkwood woman whose art practice focuses on First Nations culture and stories passed down from her family and community. Coming from a dance background, Arabella incorporates a variety of disciplines and medias in her work whereby, her creative process communicates a cultural intent in ways that words can’t.

We collaborated with Arabella to create an artwork for us live in the centre, inviting the Indooroopilly community to watch her create magic on the canvas in real time.  The artwork incorporated this year’s theme ‘Keep the Fire Burning! Blak, Loud and Proud’ whilst acknowledging the Indooroopilly community and land on which the shopping centre stands.

Arabella interpreted the theme as a celebration of the strength, resilience, and pride demonstrated by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Her artwork Enkindle, pays tribute to Australia's Indigenous identity, encapsulating the theme's core values.

The vibrant and proud painting showcases the dynamic movement of fire, a central element in Indigenous culture. Fire holds profound connections to Country, ceremony, song, dance, storytelling, community gatherings, and food practices. Arabella’s depiction of fire emphasises its important role, illustrating how it brings life and unity to Indigenous communities.

The fluidity within the artwork symbolises the power and presence of First Nations Australians as they strive towards a future where our culture is celebrated and liberated every day of the year, not just during NAIDOC Week. The colours used in the painting are deeply connected to the different stages of fire, capturing its essence before, during, and after it burns.

Additionally, Arabella has incorporated colours that reference Indooroopilly, abstractly collating elements from the shopping centre and the land on which it stands. This element acknowledges Indooroopilly Shopping Centre as a community hub and meeting place for the First Nations community, highlighting its role in fostering connection and cultural pride.

To learn more about Arabella, her work and upcoming exhibitions, please follow the link.