“Following Christ, walking together as First and Second Peoples, seeking community, compassion and justice for all creation” – is the inspiration behind the latest project at Congress Tasmania’s Leprena community centre.
The art exhibition featuring the work of 10 Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists –Telling story with our takila (heart) – was launched in Hobart during October.
The artists ranged in age from three to 60.
They include young Tasmanian Aborigine Grace Williams – who has been responsible for creating several eye catching murals telling the Leprena story – and students from the Riawunna Centre at the University of Tasmania.
The launch event also showcased the work of Sheldon Thomas, who performed a traditional healing service, traditional dancer Harley Mansell and singer-songwriter Dewayne Everettsmith.
Leprena centre manager Allison Overeem stressed that the exhibition sought to be as inclusive as possible, featuring art expressions by First and Second Peoples. Ms Overeem said it was also important to create a safe space for people to tell their own story.
“We wanted to create a story of who we are and to give the artists an opportunity to showcase those stories,” she said.
“We also wanted to send the message that all First and Second Peoples are welcome in this space.
“Because that is what Leprena is to the local community – a place to walk together and become immersed in each other’s culture.”
Ms Overeem was initially surprised by how many people from outside the local Aboriginal community applied to contribute to the exhibition.
Ms Overeem said Leprena would build on the event to create more opportunities for people to hone their artistic skills.
“We hope this is just the beginning of giving people the time to create their own stories.”
In opening the exhibition, Ms Williams thanked all the artists who contributed works.“This is a way of connecting and telling our stories with takila,” she said.
Ms Williams said, for her, Leprena is a place of safety where she can use her art as a voice.
Leprena also used the evening to unveil its new logo.
Ms Overeem explained the logo – with intersecting ovals in the red, black and yellow Aboriginal colours and the phrase ‘Leprena. Connecting Stories’ – represents how First and Second Peoples and their stories are connected as one.