Naba Gumal meaning ‘Family and Friends’ is a colourful artwork featuring stencilled handprints of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living and working in Sydney today.
The work by Dharawal Saltwater woman, Shannon Foster, was chosen from a variety of diverse proposals submitted to the City of Sydney for NAIDOC week. Her concept draws from the tradition of local Aboriginal people who have stencilled handprints onto sandstone walls for thousands of generations.
Naba Gumal reflects Gadigal peoples’ connection to country through land, sea and sky. Water from the harbour, as well as ash, sap, soil and sand from Sydney were used to create the work.
"We are proud to recognise and celebrate the world’s longest living cultures and pay tribute to the first inhabitants and custodians of the region, the Gadigal people," Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.
"Shannon has created a beautiful piece of work that will showcase the significance of our First Nation’s people right across our city, not only in celebration of NAIDOC Week but right throughout the year."
"I can’t wait to see the banners fly proudly throughout Sydney."
The artwork will feature on street banners and include the phrase bujari gamarruwa which means ‘good day’ in the Dhurug (Sydney) language. The banners will fly throughout the city in the lead up to NAIDOC Week.
Ms Foster said she comes from a long line of Aboriginal activists and performers and she sees her role as a traditional knowledge keeper to pass on her family’s stories. Her grandparents, Tom and Eliza Foster, were key figures in the 1938 Day of Mourning March —a protest which led to the establishment of NAIDOC Week.
"I have made it my life’s work to ensure that the very real and thriving Indigenous Sydney culture and art is shared and preserved for the future," Ms Foster said.
"Naba Gumal is truly a Sydney artwork. Created for and of the Country, the piece reflects the people, culture and Country of War’ran (Sydney)."
"I place great importance on events like NAIDOC Week as vital opportunities to share my family’s stories and knowledge with as many people as possible to renew, preserve and forge a future for our culture."
"I hope I’ll be remembered through this artwork like I remember the wonderful women who came before me. They protected our knowledge so I could be here today, proud and strong in our culture," she said.
'NAIDOC in the City' is a free celebration of the world’s longest living cultures through food, song, dance and art in the heart of the Sydney. This year’s theme, ‘Because of Her, We Can’, celebrates the invaluable contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
"It’s fitting that in the year we celebrate the invaluable contributions of women, we will display and promote the work of a local Aboriginal woman artist," the Lord Mayor said.
"The City is committed to recognising and elevating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and promoting them in the public domain.
"Through our reconciliation action plan, the Eora Journey program and NAIDOC in the City, we are supporting and celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and laying the groundwork for a future that embraces all Australians."
For more information about Sydney's NAIDOC in the City click here.
NAIDOC 2018 celebrates the invaluable contributions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have made —and continue to make— to our communities, our families, our history and to our nation. #BecauseOfHerWeCan
NITV will air the NAIDOC Awards on Friday, 13 July at 7.30pm on Ch. 34