Children and Ancestors inspire Naomy’s art for NAIDOC Week

Lady smiling at camera holding artwork

If you’re celebrating NAIDOC week in the top end, you might see some shirts designed by Naomy, a staff member from the Department of Human Services.

A Larrakia woman from Darwin, Naomy won the Top End NAIDOC Committee’s competition with her artwork titled ‘Footprints of Our Ancestors’.

Naomy began painting her winning entry in December and it was her first time entering the competition.

“My two children were the reason I decided to submit my artwork. They are always so encouraging and inspiring, and they feature in a lot of the paintings I do,” Naomy said.

“I paint nearly every day. It’s a real passion of mine, and it’s another way for us to share our knowledge, culture, and our stories, with our younger generations.”

The theme for this year’s NAIDOC Week, ‘songlines’, served as the inspiration for this particular piece, which will be printed on t-shirts commemorating the celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.

“My design is about sharing our songlines, knowledge, culture, dance and art,” Naomy explains.

“Songlines are the paths taken by ancestral spiritual beings during the Dreamtime as they moved across the land creating plants, animals, rivers, lakes, and waterholes.

“In my design the series of circles and tracks represent these invisible pathways and networks, while the colours represent the sky, earth and rivers which connect us to our songlines and country.”

Winning artwork by Naomy Briston
Naomy Briston’s artwork Songlines: The Living Narrative of our Nation

The sharing of stories and knowledge between people and across generations is a theme that features throughout Naomy’s artwork.

“The didgeridoo player is telling his story about his country to the other tribe across the river.

“There are other sacred areas in his country which are represented by circles and tracks. These signify sacred meeting places, and they will need to learn and hear his songs before entering his country.”

The design also shows singers and dancers performing a ceremony to teach their young men about their storyline, where the sacred areas in their country are, and where their songline will lead them.

“After the ceremony, they will be the keepers of their storyline and responsible for passing this on to the next generation,” Naomy said.

“This tradition will keep them connected to the land and their people”.

Naomy is humbled her artwork was chosen by the Top End NAIDOC Committee and hopes others enjoy the important story it tells.

Download: Transcript Children and Ancestors inspire artwork for NAIDOC Week (DOCX, 12KB)
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More information

Read more about NAIDOC Week 2016

Feature image: Service Officer Naomy Briston and her artwork, ‘Footprints of our Ancestors’