Kailyn Nixon, Ash Hengst and Jaidah Nixon at the NAIDOC week hand painting art workshop.
Kailyn Nixon, Ash Hengst and Jaidah Nixon at the NAIDOC week hand painting art workshop. Liana Walker

Painting goes hand in hand with NAIDOC week

NAIDOC week is all about keeping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island traditions alive and a workshop hosted at the Gladstone Art Gallery has done just that.

Indigenous artist Patricia Coleman hosted the art session where participants worked on painting wooden hands in their own designs using glow-in-the-dark paint which will be featured at Luminous this weekend.

She said it was encouraging to see so many children getting involved on the school holidays.

"They're enthusiastic which is very good,” she said.

Although the workshop is a part of NAIDOC week Ms Coleman encouraged the students to paint whatever they came up with.

"It's not just about teaching the kids, it's also learning from them,” she said.

"They come up with different ideas that you might not have thought of.”

She said teaching the children to paint was an important way of helping keep indigenous tradition alive.

TRADITION: Maddison Ballard and River Newth-Claridge painting at the NAIDOC week hand workshop.
TRADITION: Maddison Ballard and River Newth-Claridge painting at the NAIDOC week hand workshop. Liana Walker

"Culturally that's what we did, it was handed down,” she said.

"We didn't have a written language as such, that's how our stories were told, with painting and that sort of stuff.”

What the kids were painting is not too far from the type of art Ms Coleman produces herself.

"I'm more of a contemporary indigenous artist, I tend to use all of the rainbow colours,” she said.

"I like to do animals, mainly of the sea because we live on the coast line and I'm Torres Strait Islander.”

Two sessions were run yesterday at the art gallery along with the painting of a banner which will be be a part of the NAIDOC week march on Friday.

The workshop was part of a series of events being held in Gladstone to celebrate NAIDOC week.

The painted hands will be on display at the Tondoon Botanic Gardens as part of Luminous on this weekend from 5.30pm until late.

Later the hands will be displayed at the gallery and museum's new garden space.

Liana Walker



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