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Ipswich City Council joins with First Nations artists for cultural recognition

Sally Harrison. Image by Damien Bredberg.

Ipswich City Council has joined with four local First Nations artists to project artworks onto one of the city’s most iconic heritage buildings, St Mary’s Church, as part of 2021 SPARK Ipswich.

The announcement comes during NAIDOC Week, with the 2021 theme, Heal Country!, calling for stronger measures to recognise, protect, and maintain all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage.

The deLight event featuring First Nations Art is a key attraction of the new Ipswich Festival, 2021 SPARK Ipswich, set to begin on July 8.

Mayor Teresa Harding said the artwork in deLight will reflect the culture of Ipswich, its people and places.

“Ipswich is a truly multicultural city. Our First Nations peoples have been joined by residents from over 162 countries, speaking a collective 152 languages, across our history,” Mayor Harding said.

“NAIDOC Week is extremely significant for the people of Ipswich, reflecting on how far we have come and how far we have to go in reconciliation.”

Art will be projected onto St Mary’s Church for deLight, as part of SPARK Ipswich.

NAIDOC Week celebrates the invaluable history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Local Aboriginal artist Sally Harrison, a Kamilaroi woman, said she was humbled to be included in deLight.

“The fact that the event coincides with NAIDOC Week reinforces that we are all one people, with similar goals and aspirations, that is a desire to be treated equally, with respect and understanding,” Ms Harrison said.

Kalkadoon Waanyi woman Kylie Hill has lived in the Ipswich area for more than 30 years and said having the deLight fall in NAIDOC Week has had a really strong positive cultural impact on her community.

“For our First Nations people to showcase their artwork throughout Ipswich city is an honour in itself,” Ms Hill said.

“I am looking forward to seeing some deadly artwork from all the artists involved during the festival.”

The work of Kalkadoon Waanyi woman Kylie Hill will be projected on St Mary’s Church for deLight.

Community, Cultural, Arts and Sports Committee Chair Councillor Andrew Fechner said council was looking forward to presenting the deLight event and that the inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists gave the event deeper meaning.

“This year’s NAIDOC theme Heal Country! seeks substantive institutional, structural and collaborative reform – something generations of Elders and communities have been advocating and marching for,” Cr Fechner said.

“NAIDOC Week presents an opportunity to bring about a fundamental change in the relationship between non-indigenous people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“It’s a stunning way to showcase the beauty, strength and diversity of First Nations art.”

Contemporary Aboriginal artist from Goreng Goreng Country, Rachael Sarra said NAIDOC Week is super special for mob.

“It’s a time where we can get together with our community and celebrate all the deadly achievements of our people,” Ms Sarra said.

“This year and last year have been a bit different with COVID but not even a pandemic can ruin the pride we have for our culture.”

Four per cent of Ipswich residents currently identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

Ipswich City Council’s annual Ipswich NAIDOC Family and Cultural Celebration was scheduled for Thursday, 8 July, has been postponed due to COVID restrictions.

deLight will run over 11 days from 8 to 18 July.

Contemporary Aboriginal artist from Goreng Goreng Country, Rachael Sarra.

For more information about deLight and SPARK Ipswich visit

Program of local artists featured on St Mary’s as part of deLight:

Thursday 8 July – Sally Harrison

Friday 9 July – Kylie Hill

Saturday 10 July – Jason McNamara

Sunday 11 July – Rachael Sarra

Monday 12 July – Glen Smith

Tuesday 13 July – Donna Davis

Wednesday 14 July – Sharon McKenzie

Thursday 15 July – Rebecca Lewis

Friday 16 July – Eva Fritz

Saturday 17 July – Charmaine Davis

Sunday 18 July – Linda Clark

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