Bangalow Public School students (from left) Billy Lee, 7, Kate Cowan, 8, Jonah Burton, 8, Freya Peacock, 8, and renowned indigenous artist Digby Moran create artwork to celebrate NAIDOC Week.
Bangalow Public School students (from left) Billy Lee, 7, Kate Cowan, 8, Jonah Burton, 8, Freya Peacock, 8, and renowned indigenous artist Digby Moran create artwork to celebrate NAIDOC Week. JERAD WILLIAMS

Reconciliation through art

BANGALOW Public School students got a chance to work with one of the region’s best-known artists this week.

Bundjalung artist Digby Moran helped 180 primary school children paint an Aboriginal-inspired mural as part of NAIDOC celebrations.

Mr Moran’s art has been recognised nationwide, with an exhibition of his works currently on show at Parliament House in Sydney.

The Lismore resident said he loved working with kids.

“Children are our future and I want to give something back to our community,” he said.

“Not only is it promoting NAIDOC Week, but they learn about our culture and bringing everyone together. It’s about bringing people together so they can understand each other.”

Mr Moran presided over the Bangalow schoolchildren as they each took turns in dotting the outline of a circle that would eventually form a sun on the mural.

The children used the school colours of green and yellow on the mural, which will be hung in the area where the school holds its assembly each week.

“They have never done this before and now they will go home and talk about this with their families,” Mr Moran said.

“Some of them wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet an Aboriginal person. I don’t see colour. I only see what is inside of people.”

Mr Moran was born in Ballina, but was raised on Cabbage Tree Island near Wardell before he started painting more art works than he ‘could remember’.

Year 2 student Freya Peacock spent a year living on Torres Strait islands last year, where she learnt a lot about the local Aboriginal culture.

“NAIDOC is about Aborigines and their culture, but I know about that already because I lived in the Torres Strait for a year,” she said.

“We just started it (NAIDOC) yesterday and we had Aunty Bertha come in. We raised the flag and she talked about herself.”

Bangalow Public School Parent and Citizens’ Association committee treasurer Jennifer Winfield has worked with Mr Moran in the past and recently asked him to visit the school.

“Every child learns in their own way,” she said.

“When you are using different parts of your body like your brain or your hands it helps.”



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