Cultural and community connection comes to life through art in Townsville
A JOURNEY OF CARE, GUIDANCE, AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT LINKED WITH CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE HAS COME TO LIFE IN COLOUR FOR FEROS CARE, THROUGH THE VISION AND DELIVERY OF ABORIGINAL ARTIST, NICKY BIDYU PRYOR.
Adorning the wall of Feros Care Townsville, Nicky’s painting blends Aboriginal culture and legend to reflect Feros Care’s role in the disability and wider communities, and follows the journey of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants.
Breaking down barriers, Nicky was happy to be part of the initiative aimed to forge a stronger connection and build trust with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their culture. The Townsville artist said his piece, which contains hands, circles, and a rainbow serpent, represented different elements of Feros Care’s impact.
“Feros Care had seen one of my paintings, so they called me to ask if I’d be part of the project. I’m all about helping other people, so I wanted to be involved,” Nicky said.
“I did some research and thought, ‘they’re all about helping people, so they can help themselves in their own environment’, so, through mixing modern and traditional styles, I came up with the design.
“The hands represent helping and caring; the colourful circle with u shapes represent Feros Care giving support to the community; the white circles represent people with disability receiving the support they need to go out into their own journeys, and the rainbow serpent represents culture and guidance.”
Born into an artistic family, Nicky began his journey through producing Aboriginal art with a “flexible” approach on murals and the like.
FEROS CARE’S APPROACH TO CONNECTING TO THE ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER COMMUNITY IS BEING STRENGTHENED THROUGH ART
Drawing on his Aboriginal culture, which combines elements of his Gunggandji, Juru, Gia, and Ngaro heritage, Nicky’s pieces gained widespread notice.
Taking over Bidju Designs from his mother, who he watched and learnt his craft from as a child, Nicky implemented his own touch to expand upon a foundation of screen printing and painting. Evolving to incorporate modern mediums such as digital and canvas art, Nicky’s work now proudly appears on everything from didgeridoos to boomerangs, and t-shirt designs.
But his painting for Feros Care, which he crafted using a layering technique over a week-long period, marks a first for collaboration between the two.
Making an “invaluable” connection, Feros Care Community Development Coordinator (CDC), Stacey Stafford, said Nicky’s outlook aligned with Feros Care’s Bold values, and shows that while cultures vary, beliefs fully align.
“I was quite proud that Nicky agreed to take on our brief and put his passion into the artwork. For me, this shows he recognises the work Feros Care does is worthwhile and contributes to his people and community, and it is his way of sharing our mutual connection,” Stacey said.
“I think for Feros Care, this will be the beginning of breaking down misconceptions and working collaboratively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Having the relationship with Nicky, who is a well-known and respected emerging leader, can only cement our common purpose and goal.”
The initiative sees artwork created by Aboriginal artists displayed in Feros Care’s other Local Area Coordination regions of ACT, North Adelaide, Barossa, and Mackay.