Closing the gap with community art

EMBRACING ART: Valma Tiffin, Ella Hollis, Tasmanian Aboriginal elder and poet Phyllis Pitchford at the Kings Meadows Community Health Centre.

EMBRACING ART: Valma Tiffin, Ella Hollis, Tasmanian Aboriginal elder and poet Phyllis Pitchford at the Kings Meadows Community Health Centre.

A sprawling mural was unveiled on Monday morning as part of the Kings Meadows Community Health Centre’s effort to “close the gap”. The mural, part of an ongoing project, was a collaboration between the Tasmanian Aboriginal community and the health centre.

Aboriginal artist Aunty Judith-Rose Thomas created the top and bottom of the 21-panel painting, with community members contributing various designs for its middle. A poem, Sad Memories, by prominent Tasmanian Aboriginal elder Aunty Phyllis Pitchford hung next to what she called the “beautiful piece of work”. Aunty Phyllis said art had an important role to play in closing the gap between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous. 

“The best way to tell a story is through art … it comes from the heart,” she said. 

She said access to health services for Aboriginals was “getting a lot better”. Senior social worker Michelle Nicholson said the mural aimed to make Aboriginal community members feel comfortable, understood and respected. 

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