Survival Day song, Ngarrindjeri mural revealed at NAIDOC Week youth event
Murray Bridge’s first youth-focused NAIDOC Week event, at Headspace and the Station, has unearthed creative talents from all generations.
This post was originally published behind Murray Bridge News’ paywall. Paywalled posts are unlocked four weeks after publication. Can’t wait that long? Subscribe here.
A hip-hop track and a mural have been revealed at a first-of-its-kind NAIDOC Week event in Murray Bridge.
Each of the two projects came from collaboration between youth mental health organisation Headspace, youth centre the Station, creative local young people and established artists.
About 50 people gathered at Headspace in Murray Bridge on Thursday for a smoking ceremony and the unveiling of the colourful mural in its foyer.
The crowd then walked down the street to the Station for lunch and a musical performance.
The joint event was held in celebration of NAIDOC Week and its theme for 2022: get up, stand up, show up.
Mural at Headspace celebrates Ngarrindjeri skills and wisdom
The mural’s creation had been a powerful experience for those involved, Headspace Aboriginal engagement worker Aninna Tarasenko said.
“The connection that was shown and the respect … I couldn’t even explain how that made me feel,” she said.
The work was created by artists Suzi Koolmatrie, Ros Richards, Harley Hall and Dale Trotter, with help from Ms Tarasenko, Valentina Tarasenko, Headspace staff and local young people.
The painting’s panels depict the story of Ngurunderi, the legendary hunter who chased the cod Ponde down the River Murray, travelled along the Fleurieu Peninsula, dove into the ocean off Kangaroo Island and ascended into the stars.
Manager Suzanne Fuzzard hoped the mural would help make it clear that Headspace was a safe, welcoming place where Aboriginal young people could seek help with their mental health issues.
“We know, as a non-Aboriginal health service, we can do so much better to ensure that our services feel welcoming and inclusive to Aboriginal young people and families,” she said.
“This incredible art piece, we hope, is a strong message to all in our community that this is everyone’s place.”
The art project was funded by the Country SA Primary Health Network.
‘We’re still here and here to stay’
The track performed at the Station for the first time on Thursday was the outcome of a months-long creative process.
A handful of local young people attended a series of online workshops in April and May, contributing ideas for a song intended to explore what Survival Day – January 26, the anniversary of British colonisation more widely known as Australia Day – meant to them.
Local MCs Nunga and Inquest collaborated with Ngarrindjeri choir the Deadly Nannas on a recording of the track which was laid down in the Bakehouse, the studio at the Station.
Weaving our futures strand by strand
We’re still here and here we stand
You thought we were going away
But we’re still here and here to stay
Ms Tarasenko said the artists had wanted to set out a vision of the Australia that could be, rather than focusing on historical wrongs.
“What we’re trying to do is make more positive for us now and moving forward, recognising what our elders went through, acknowledging the past and the present, but working together to make a better future for all of us,” she said.
Aboriginal health service Moorundi was also involved in the project.
Inquest and Nunga are not the first Ngarrindjeri MCs to tackle the topic of Survival Day.
Trials, one half of AB Original, shot to national prominence in 2017 on the track January 26.