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IWC takes out top Reconciliation award

Aboriginal community-controlled IWC has taken out the top award in the state’s 2020 Queensland Reconciliation Awards for its ground-breaking pictorial screens project at its Bundaberg Health & Wellbeing Complex.

The project has won IWC the Premier’s Reconciliation Award, with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk saying: “This wonderful initiative showcases the benefits of approaching reconciliation as a community. It focused on the First Nations Peoples and the trauma experienced in their lifetime; a platform for true reconciliation and a healing process for the community.

“The Indigenous Wellbeing Centre has acknowledged the importance and sensitivities of the past through a piece of art, and also opened a platform for discussion, not just within the Bundaberg community, but across Queensland.

“I want to congratulate the centre for its commitment to engaging the local community, acknowledging our history and valuing the knowledge of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

IWC is committed to Reconciliation in Action, and delivers services and programs to all people in the community without discrimination or barriers.

IWC CEO Ara Harathunian said: “The pictorial screens showcase the Sacred Places of the Traditional Owners, and also bring into the community arena the trauma of the horrific massacres which took place in this region in the mid-19th century.”

There are 11 screens in total, with two focusing on the massacres that continue to resonate in the region today. The title of the award entry was: “Screens share Aboriginal history to support Reconciliation.”

“True reconciliation requires truth,” said Mr Harathunian, “and by working with Traditional Owners and Elders in this region to capture the oral histories of the Ancestors and share this information with the community, the truth has been put out there for all to see – and to understand.”

IWC General Manager Wayne Mulvany said the process had been long and harrowing for the Elders involved.

“Over the many months of the process, many tears were shed and old wounds revealed,” he said. “We worked with a local artist, Jacky Poulter, to create a mainstream interpretation of the oral histories, which were then turned into the 11 3m-high screens now wrapping the streetscape of the IWC Complex.

“We also captured the stories, and these are on plaques which sit under the original artworks on permanent display in the Complex.”

Mr Harathunian said: “We should like to thank the Traditional Owners and Elders who worked with us on this project, which we believe is an Australian first. We are honouring the past while looking to a brighter future together, as one community, that has respect of our Aboriginal history.”