Aboriginal health care worker Alison Simpson – of Twofold Aboriginal Corporation – has won one of two art awards in an inaugural Aboriginal art competition.
The competition – recognising International Day of the World’s Indigenous People – was conducted by Southern NSW Local Health District, and was open to all members of the Aboriginal community across the Health District.
SNSWLHD Aboriginal Employment and Traineeship coordinator Brendan Church said there was an “enormous response” to the call-out, with the “incredibly high quality of the art work” making judging difficult.
The two themes for the competition were Partnership and Collaboration – designed to reflect the SNSWLHD’s committment to improving health outcomes in Aboriginal communities – and Mothers, Families and Children – helping to promote SNSWLHD’s programs delivered to mothers and their children .
Alison Simpson, originally of the Wiradjuri nation of central NSW and a former student of Eden Marine High School, won the Partnership and Collaboration theme with her artwork
Ms Simpson said she felt “honoured to be recognised” especially considering she only started painting three years ago.
“And it’s quite significant for me, as (the competition) is for Aboriginal health and that’s been my career path for the past 14 years,” Ms Simpson said on Tuesday.
“So it’s more exciting, as it’s a piece of art that has won in an industry that I used to be in, and absolutely love.”
Ms Simpson has recently changed her career path to the community services’ sector, and is currently working in age and disability care for the Aboriginal community based out of Jigamy Farm’s Twofold Aboriginal Corporation.
Ms Simpson initially entered her artwork in the Mothers, Families and Children category, but due to the artwork’s complexity she was asked by SNSWLHD to enter the work in the Partnership and Collaboration category as well, before winning the latter.
“It features a child being cradled by its mother, and then the father cradling the mother and child, so it signifies a strong family unit,” Ms Simpson said.
“But it also signifies community services and community support in general working in collaboration with families to provide strength and support, which helps families develop and grow.”
Ms Simpson said that having such a strong foundation is “crucial for development and growth later on in life”, and leads to a solid sense of “identity, belonging, and connectedness”.
The Mothers, Families and Children category as won by Aboriginal artist Wayne Williams.
The two winners will receive a cheque for $1000, with a morning tea and presentation to be held in coming weeks.