Painting for Reconciliation

South Australian based artist Juanella McKenzie joined Services Australia as an Indigenous Apprentice earlier this year in the midst the nation’s worst bushfire crisis. She’s now supported customers affected by fire, flood and the turmoil of COVID-19.

The Adnyamathanha (Flinders Ranges SA) and Luritja (Eringa SA) artist has been painting nearly all her life, and her cultural artwork is displayed in the National Museum of Australia and Museum of Scotland.

When a ‘team showcase’ was organised among staff at the Port Augusta Smart Centre, she took the opportunity to use ancient techniques to tell a story of the team through art. Her piece, ‘Coming Together’, represents regional Port Augusta Smart Centre.

Staff journey each day into the centre from outer communities throughout the region – some travelling over 100 kilometres each way. The help they provide radiates out to customers across Australia.

“We’re a smaller centre, so everyone knows everyone – and everyone really cares. I’ve found so much mateship and true blue Aussie spirit over the last couple of months,” Juanella said.

“The staff at Port Augusta Smart Centre are amazing, and I feel incredibly proud to be part of this team.”

Juanella is donating the piece to Services Australia’s Port August Smart Centre as part of Reconciliation Week.

“For me, Reconciliation is learning from past mistakes and moving forward in a positive light, together as one in this beautiful land we all now call home,” she said.

“Even though the COVID-19 crisis has been challenging, I’m really proud of the critical work that me and my team are able to provide people, it’s been an amazing experience.”

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