Artwork unites stories of conflict

Warfare is painted through the narratives of culture. For Australia, these strokes depict contemporary conflicts abroad and often forgotten wars fought by First Nations during the colonial possession of their lands.

CAPTION: Uncle Allan Charles Lena and his artwork at Kokoda Barracks, with Lieutenant Colonel Alana Burkitt. Story by Sergeant Matthew Bickerton.

The Defence School of Intelligence (DSI) has unveiled an Indigenous artwork that unites these stories under a single banner of respect and appreciation.

DSI Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Alana Burkitt said the artwork helped tell Defence’s stories and those of First Nations more openly.

“It’s important we understand the history of Wangerriburra land and respect the customs and traditions of the people connected to the land we share, meet, work, live and train on,” she said.

Uncle Allan Charles Lena, of Bundjalung Nation, painted the artwork.

He was identified and granted permission by community elders, on behalf of the Wanggeriburra people, of the Yugambeh language group.

Central to the artwork is a mibunn, a wedge-tailed eagle, a totem of the Bundjalung Nation.

“The mibunn flies over the nation and my people, keeping us safe from sunrise to sunset, as do our people of the Australian Defence Force,” Uncle Allan writes, in his artist’s didactic.

Above the eagle is an Australian soldier, back to back with a First Nations warrior “looking out for each other, protecting our land together”.

It honours the “teams of brave males and females, black and white, who courageously come together in friendship, to protect this land, our families [and] our way of life,” he writes.

Screen printed onto aluminium and measuring 3.6 metres wide and 1.5 metres high, the artwork sits at the entrance to the school.

“It’s a powerful, tangible reminder that puts reconciliation at the forefront of our people’s minds when they enter DSI and reminds us all of our connection to country – whether we identify as Indigenous or not,” Lieutenant Colonel Burkitt said.

“It’s an acknowledgement of the histories and cultures of the First Peoples of this land and represents a commitment toward a shared, collaborative future.”


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2 thoughts on “Artwork unites stories of conflict

  • 16/06/2023 at 11:54 pm
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    Good question Tracy…Contact Magazine you’ve fallen for some woke narrative.

    Reply
  • 11/06/2023 at 5:39 pm
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    Re-Artwork unites stories of conflict.
    With the opening words of: ‘Warfare is painted through the narratives of culture. For Australia, these strokes depict contemporary conflicts abroad and often forgotten wars fought by First Nations during the colonial possession of their lands’, can someone please provide references to confirm the veracity of the claims of conflicts abroad and forgotten wars fought?
    I am having trouble finding verified references.

    Reply

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