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Spotlight shined on National Reconciliation Week with a virtual first


Sharing the vision and inspiration behind her renowned masterpieces paints a perfect picture for Aboriginal artist, Narelle Urquhart.

That an opportunity arrives during National Reconciliation week will mark a special moment for the Proud Wiradjuri woman, when she joins forces with Feros Care for the launch of its Virtual Social Centre (VSC) for people with disability and their carers.

Aptly named Art Yarn, the live one-hour session will see the storytelling and techniques behind Narelle’s paintings come to life in what will also be a first for the acclaimed artist.

“I’ve never done what I’m about to do virtually, and I’ll be sharing a cultural practice through some of my art and taking people on a bit of a tour through how I paint, and why I paint,” Narelle said.

“I’ll show the process through a blank canvas to show people how I chalk my artwork out. It will give them a view of how I gain my creativity, and the cultural side of it will be my story as well as the art.”

Fittingly, it was a connection between Narelle and Feros Care project lead and proud Aboriginal woman Tash Jessimer, who is currently creating and implementing Feros Care’s Reconciliation Action Plan, which secured Narelle for Art Yarn.

Painting professionally for over 25 years, Narelle is no stranger to the spotlight, with launches in Parliament and works adorning the walls of the Gold Coast University Hospital’s birthing suite just some of the places her artwork has come to life.

Also an Indigenous Engagement Advisor at Bond University, Narelle’s connection to her culture is something she lives and breathes, particularly during a week celebrating shared history.

“The theme of National Reconciliation Week is coming together to celebrate our shared history, and for me, it’s also recognising and understanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and our culture,” Narelle said.

“It’s a time of celebration, but it’s also a time for understanding as well, so people will have an opportunity to ask me questions during the session and have a bit of a chat as well.

“It’s culturally important because a lot of people don’t know a lot about Aboriginal people. They’re starting to, but there’s a long way to go, so by making sessions like this personal breaks down a lot of barriers.”

No stranger to hosting live sessions in an online, vibrant community, Feros Care’s VSC has helped bring people in Aged Care together to connect virtually through everything from book clubs and exercise classes, to healthy living and technology for many years.

In expanding the VSC to offer connection for individuals who are accessing the Local Area Coordination service as a part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Feros Care consultant of Operations and Emerging Portfolios, Angela Lockwood said Art Yarn was a perfect way to launch.

“Narelle is really renowned, and we wanted to offer something vibrant to NDIS participants and their carers through a session which will be really inclusive,” she said.

“It will be a live interactive session happening in real time, and people can tap into Narelle’s creativity and connect with her while learning about Aboriginal art and the storytelling behind it from the comfort of their own homes.

“It will really benefit people as creativity is endless, and when art comes to life, it’s a really beautiful thing.”

Drawing on the message behind National Reconciliation Week, Angela hopes the session not only helps to connect people, but sparks creativity moving forward as the VSC expands further.

“These sessions are also a way for people who may be isolated to come together on a virtual platform, and no matter where you live, you can access it,” Angela said.

“The VSC is reducing barriers for people, and that ties in beautifully for National Reconciliation Week, which is about everyone coming together and connecting no matter who you are or where you are.

“We’d love to see a spark of interest in art as we’ll continue running personal art sessions on the VSC, and employment, business, cooking, and health and wellness are just some of the other sessions we’ll be running.”

Art Yarn is a free session which runs from 11am-12pm on Thursday.

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