In early 2022, Advocare CEO Louise Forster travelled to the Kimberley with one of our advocates, Erica Wright, to be introduced to a number of communities including those in Halls Creek, Kununurra and Warmun. During this trip the ladies met up with members of the Purdie family, which included well-known Gija artist, Shirley Purdie.
After visiting the Warmun Art Centre, and spending time with Shirley, her daughter Madeline, and grand-daughter, Louise was inspired to commission an art piece that echoed the story of Shirley’s life she’d shared with them whilst they were on country with her. Shirley was born and grew up on Mabel Downs Station milking nanny goats and doing domestic work, while her mother mustered cattle with the men.
The result is ‘My Life. My Family.’ This artwork depicts many of the challenges many Aboriginal people have faced across the Kimberley, similar to Shirley’s family’s journey. This can be seen in the elements of the artwork – a tale of escape and survival in the face of cruelty on a neighbouring station.
During NAIDOC Week 2022, we share this special piece and its story acknowledging the challenges and hardships Aboriginal people have faced in this country. As an organisation working with older Aboriginal people across WA, we commit to learning more and educating others on the importance of safeguarding Aboriginal culture and supporting, positive, systemic change for the better and future.
Find out more about the symbolism and sentiment behind this art piece, ‘My Life. My Family’ in this longer version (3:39mins).