“gadhu-dha djera bubara-dha” (meaning… From rough sea to the mountains in Dharawal language. The inspiration for the mural that we have been painting over the last week has been a reflection on the journey that each person takes and how we have all become part of this community, adding to our experience of life. It is a captivating mural that serves as a vibrant representation of unity and diversity at Edmund Rice College. Designed by First Nations Prefect Jake Potter, we brought this story to life, depicting the profound connection between the school’s location where the ocean and the stunning Grandmother mountain, djera, converge, reminding us that we are learning at the feet of grandmother, an appropriate reflection, in a NAIDOC week where we honour our elders.
Each yellow star is a gathering place: one for each family of the First Nations students and staff who are currently in our College community, recognised as their own gathering place with our own histories and cultures. The number of Dots/U shapes around the yellow circles represent the number of family members each person has in their immediate family. So, while we are diverse, we are all part of this one Edmund Rice College community now. The trails all meet at the main gathering place in the centre of the mural, using the Colleges colours. This was designed to represent all of the diverse pathways our College Community has had and will continue to embark on, and all the song lines that are brought onto this journey. The school is not only the centre of the art piece but is the central meeting place as we live out our lives together. Underneath the community is the contrast between the ocean and grandmother mountain, Geera, reminding us that the earth holds the stories of all those who have travelled the paths and waves before us.
Finally, the lines connecting the spaces in the ocean and the earth are made by the fingerprints of every student and staff member, each person’s unique contribution to the life of our College; each person’s own history and culture, equally important, as we learn to grow and live together. When we talk about reconciliation, it is by creating practical projects like this that includes everyone that we can build on our Dreaming and continue to live out the future in harmony, respecting what and who came before us, acknowledging the wisdom of the past. Thus, this is not only to instil pride for each First nations student, but recognises that we all have a part to play and that our spaces are empty without each other. The connections are where life resides in the earth, in the ocean and in our community. We value every student and staff member within our school.
This mural serves as a visual testament to the unity forged by the diverse paths and journeys taken by each member of Edmund Rice College, reminding us all of the strength found in embracing our differences and coming together to celebrate life’s journey. My collaboration with Jake Potter has enabled us to translate his creative vision onto the walls of the school; We are grateful for the support of Ms Neal, Mrs Hurley and Mr Gough who have ensured that Jake’s vision is not only preserved but also celebrated by the entire Edmund Rice College community.