Artwork narration: Galagir Ngaurai – Youth speak. Health and Wellbeing.
The students wanted to convey the importance of coming together to encourage responsible, respectful, and honest discussions about health and wellbeing and centred this around the ‘yarning circle’ painted by Artist, Grace Brown. They watched as Uncle Ian Levinge added his handprint to the centre of the circle, signifying the wisdom and cultural guidance Elders provide to community. The 10 large circles represented each student participant, and the three gold circles represented the artist and the Gold Coast Public Health Unit employees who developed and facilitated the initiative. The smaller circles within the yarning circle represent those positively influencing and supporting students, including family, friends, teachers, and community.
Students added their handprints to the artwork and painted their individual, yet collective health journey. Whilst individual health experiences were discussed, students united around the yarning circle to support each other as they talked about health and wellbeing and the importance of keeping each other safe. Their works were thoughtfully complementary, yet respectfully unique, just as public health efforts can be tailored to individual health issues for entire community benefit, such as the protection against viruses through vaccination, to the creation of supportive environments for healthy eating and physical activity.
The inextricable link between Country and individual / community health was detailed within students designs; the inclusion of flora and fauna including totem animals, waterways, night sky, pathways, connection; students were communicating that health was strongly influenced by the health of their environment. This could be interpreted as an ecological model, those interrelationships between individuals and the social, physical and policy environment, yet the student emphasis was placed on sustainable practices to ensure clean air, waterways, and landscapes in the maintenance and enhancement of a healthy environment, Country, which ultimately provides healthier pursuits for us all.