• Nunukul, Ngugi and Goenpul artist draws inspiration from the saltwater people to create a unique story on the brand new Gold Coast 2018 Medal Designs. (NITV News)Source: NITV News
From the sandy shores to the finish line - local artist brings the unique spirit of the saltwater people from the Gold Coast, all the way to the top spots at the Commonwealth Games with her new medal designs.
Laura Morelli

6 Nov 2017 - 4:35 PM  UPDATED 7 Nov 2017 - 3:46 PM

For many generations the Gold Coast coastline has been a place for gathering, meeting and sport.

Now, local Nunukul, Ngugi and Goenpul artist from Quandamooka Country, Delvene Cockatoo-Collins is able to capture the spirit of its shorelines, the sea and its people by printing unique stories on the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games medals.

The soft sand lines shift with every tide and wave which is symbolic of athletic achievement, Delvene explained. Her designs capture the moment the water moves towards low tide, the way each wave moves the sand, creating and leaving behind new lines in the earth witnessed by those present. 

"The continual change of tide represents the evolution in athletes who are making their mark. Records are made and special moments of elation are celebrated," she said.

Delvene Cockatoo-Collins lives and works on Minjerribah, North Stradbroke Island – her mother and grandmothers’ birthplace. She translates the narratives of her ancestors into her own contemporary interpretations to ensure cultural continuation.

Delvene draws inspiration from her ancestors by utilising woven strands of the freshwater reed, known as yungair. Here, the three reeds woven form a pattern which resembles many triangles joined together. It is reminiscent of the South-East Queensland and Gold Coast areas.

The traditional technique involves reeds wrapping around each other and when they are all connected together, they form a strong bond and have many functions, such as carrying babies and food. Delvene says it is a skill that has been passed down and shared through the generations. 

"This particular pattern that is reflected in the ribbon is something my mother heard from one of her aunties and mum just started making it while she was explaining it and passed it on to me."

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk praised the unique designs.

"The medals are absolutely beautiful. She captures the essence of the gold coast and the sea," Ms Palaszczuk said.

Games chairman Peter Beattie said the unveiling was a significant moment for the athletes, who could now visualise what they would be competing for. 

Fifteen hundred of the gold-plated, silver and bronze medals will be pressed with precision and brought to life by the Royal Australian Mint, who are responsible for the production and delivery of the medals. They each weigh around 160 grams and can take up to 63 hours to be made.

The fortunate few athletes lucky enough to take home top spot and a unique medal will be awarded from the fourth to April 15 next year.

These medals are a part of the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in order to deliver a great Games which will recognise, respect and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games is the first event of its kind to have a RAP. This is the result of a commitment from Games Partners to deliver legacy outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and has been led by the Queensland Government through the Office of the Commonwealth Games (OCG) and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC).

The GC2018 RAP has been developed in consultation with Reconciliation Australia, members of the Yugambeh language group and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Queensland, providing a unique opportunity and a guiding framework for other Commonwealth Games host nations to show leadership towards reconciliation with their First Peoples.

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