Traditional Owners from across Queensland joined Mater staff today for the unveiling of First Nations artwork that tells the story of the healthcare organisation’s history and commitment to advancing reconciliation.
The artwork will form a central element of Mater’s Reconciliation Action Plan and was unveiled at a ceremony attended by Traditional Owners from Bundaberg and South-East Queensland regions where Mater operates facilities.
Entitled The Heart to Heal, the Strength to Grow, the artwork was created by Wakka Wakka artist David Williams and is a visual narrative of Mater’s century-long service in delivering healthcare, education, research, and foundation services — as well as its commitment to achieving reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-indigenous Australians.
Mater Chief Executive Officer Dr Peter Steer said the artwork also symbolised the organisation’s commitment to providing culturally safe healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
This year Mater’s dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Liaison Service is celebrating 25 years of service delivery to patients and families.
“Reconciliation in action is evident in our work at Mater, but we continue to innovate and assess the ways we can continue to progress and extend our services to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples we serve,” Dr Steer said.
“This artwork is a symbol of Mater’s commitment to taking meaningful action in advancing reconciliation and will be used to strengthen our relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”
Dr Steer said the artwork would be incorporated across Mater’s 11 Queensland hospitals.
Renowned for using art as a tool for cultural communication, Mr Williams said the artwork reflected Mater’s history, heritage, and reconciliation vision.
“It says that: ‘our door is open; everyone is welcome, and no one gets left behind’,” said Mr Williams, Executive Director of creative firm Gilimbaa.
“Our work at Gilimbaa is centred on the power of storytelling and the role this plays in the celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and community, so we are delighted to be part of Mater’s journey at this important time of growth for the organisation.”
Having become a father at Mater Mothers’ Hospital, Mr Williams welcomed the opportunity to connect his culture to the Mater community and said he was proud his artwork would form an integral part of Mater’s Reconciliation Action Plan.
The artwork launch coincides with National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June), which this year has the theme Be Brave. Make Change.
Mater is Queensland’s largest not-for-profit healthcare provider and delivers a range of services to more than 700,000 patients every year from 11 hubs across the state, including Bundaberg, Mackay, Redland, Rockhampton, Springfield, South Brisbane, and Townsville.
To learn more about ‘The Heart to Heal, the Strength to Grow’ artwork by David Williams of Gilimbaa click here.
Image: Executive Director Gilimbaa David Williams and Mater CEO Dr Peter Steer with 'The Heart to Heal, The Strength to Grow'.