New artwork at Albany and Bunbury’s Jobs and Skills Centres are helping transform the entrances into a welcoming space for Aboriginal students and community members.
They are the winners of South Regional TAFE's Aboriginal artwork competition which was open to Aboriginal students studying at the college.
Jobs and Skills Centres provide free, culturally sensitive support and guidance on careers, training and employment advice and assistance.
The unveiling of two wonderful and welcoming artworks completed by Aboriginal South Regional TAFE (SR TAFE) students was held at the Bunbury Campus Jobs and Skills Centre on 8 February 2023.
The pieces were part of the Aboriginal Art competition held late last year, an initiative by the Department of Training and Workforce Development.
Local Elder Annette Garlett did a Welcome to Country for the attendees which included the two artists Kim Kiosess and Meeka Tiendi, their family and friends, Aboriginal Advisory Committee members, and SR TAFE staff.
Managing Director Darshi Ganeson said she was excited to "celebrate beauty in the form of visual art".
Darshi unveiled both pieces to the group and thanked the artists for their tremendous efforts. Darshi said that art is to be admired but often carries deeper messages and stories we can learn from and share.
Pictured are South Regional TAFE Managing Director Darshi Ganeson, Artists Meeka Rees and Kim Kiosses, SRT Manager Jobs and Skills Centre Jodie Schroder, SRT Aboriginal Education Support Officer Beverly Thomson, and SRT Manager Aboriginal Programs Shirley Badger
Kim Kiosess is a current Visual Arts student. She explained that her piece Learning Journey reflects a journey through learning, like the one she is currently on. Kim said she learns so much in every lesson from her Lecturers and fellow students and always feels supported to express herself through her art. Art has given her a platform to tell her story and perspective while communicating with the broader community. Learning Journey reflects learning from our Elders, family, history, environment, and experiences.
Kim grew up in the Bunbury Area and is now living in Dunsborough, however her language groups are Ballardong (north-east of Perth) and Banyjima (central Pilbara region). Her career background is in horticulture, an industry she has worked in for 20 years after completing an apprenticeship with TAFE. Kim said she is excited to be back in TAFE studying her passion. She explained that her dad, John Sara is also an artist, and he is her main inspiration. Kim said she is “lucky to have this journey with him.
Meeka Rees is a Wadandi, Pibbulmun, Menang Woman and a recent TAFE graduate completing her Certificate III in Conservation and Ecosystem Management. She explained that her piece, Kaatadjin Wongi, Kaatadjin meaning knowledge and Wongi meaning talking, is about the connections we make from sharing our stories. Meeka said we learn so much from listening to the people around us, like our family, friends, and Elders and the stories we tell are heard by many people. The journey line in the piece connects these stories across the people. Meeka said the colours of her art also represent the colours of Country.
Meeka explained she is new to art and took this opportunity to explore and put herself out there as an artist. She said her nan and Elder, Sandra Hill is a successful WA artist too and has been a big influence in her art and visual storytelling. Meeka is keen to continue her exploration through art while she also looks to move into conservation work within the South West this year.
Kim and Meeka's pieces are currently on display in the Jobs and Skills Centre at Bunbury Campus for all of our students and visitors to enjoy.
Two students enrolled in the Visual Arts course through Albany Regional Prison’s education centre were winners of the competition.
The men shared first prize, with their original artworks depicting Dreamtime stories set around Bluff Knoll in the Stirling Ranges and the iconic Dog Rock.
The recent artwork unveiling in the Jobs and Skills Centre in the campus reception featured a Welcome to Country ceremony. Attendees included representatives of the artists, college staff, and South Regional TAFE’s Great Southern Aboriginal Advisory Committee chair and members.
South Regional TAFE Managing Director Darshi Ganeson congratulated the winning entrants and said the artwork was colourful, bold and deeply connected to Noongar Country.
“It was a great achievement for these two students and demonstrated not only their skills in the visual arts but also the commitment towards their learning and development,” she said.
“Their work can be reflected on and enjoyed by all who visit the Albany campus reception.”
Pictured are South Regional TAFE Managing Director Darshi Ganeson, SRT Aboriginal Programs Officer Matt Palfrey, SRT’s Great Southern Aboriginal Advisory Committee Chair Ken Kelly, AAC member Cheryle James-Wallace, SRT Aboriginal Education Support Officer Jasmine, and AAC member Briony Arnold.