IAG's NRMA Insurance business connects roads to Country through Aboriginal art
08 Jul 2019
IAG's NRMA Insurance business has partnered with three local Aboriginal Land Councils and three Aboriginal artists to create artworks to appear on billboards in NSW. The artworks have been created to help increase awareness about the traditional lands of First Nations people from Wonnarua, Wiradjuri and Dharawal countries.
Banner by Jasmine Sarin, Dharawal Country, Princes Highway, Heathcote
The three artworks were created by First Nations artists who have a connection to each community and will be placed on the Princes Highway in Heathcote, the Newell Highway south of Dubbo and the New England Highway south of Singleton in time for NAIDOC Week.
NRMA Insurance Executive Manager for Safer Communities Phil Lockyer said the artworks are designed to create awareness among the many Australians who drive across the country each year.
“Our artworks are designed to create awareness and help drivers connect with the land as they pass through and contribute to a proud and shared national identity for all Australians.
“We hope to work with local communities, Land Councils and First Nations artists from around New South Wales to create similar signs. We’d welcome other organisations and communities to join us in honouring 50,000 plus years of the First Nations history and heritage in New South Wales,” Mr Lockyer said.
Jasmine Sarin, who grew up on Dharawal country, said she hopes her artwork, which represents where the mountain meets the sea, will help make people aware of First Nations culture when they’re travelling through Dharawal land.
“I’m so excited my artwork is going to be on a billboard and for it to play a role in educating people about the history and stories of Dharawal. For me, it’s important that people in the local community are familiar with the stories and history of the area.”
The artworks have been welcomed by First Nations communities in Wonnarua, Dharawal and Wiradjuri.
Wonnarua Nation Aboriginal Corporation CEO Laurie Perry said: “The signs will highlight the First Nations countries in a way that has not been done before.”
Dharawal Local Aboriginal Land Council CEO Robyn Straub said: “The billboards are beautiful and powerful.”
NRMA Insurance is a proud supporter of First Nations communities and the Reconciliation movement in Australia. In February 2019, IAG launched an Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), its third RAP.
The RAP outlines commitments such as providing employment and internship opportunities to First Nations people, as well as supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses.
In June this year, IAG joined 13 major organisations during National Reconciliation Week supporting the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which calls for the establishment of a First Nations voice in the constitution.
About the artists:
Debra Beale, Wonnarua Country
Debra Beale, a Wonnarua woman who is also part of the Palawa and Yorta Yorta Nations, created the artwork featured in the road sign acknowledging Wonnarua Country.
“My artwork is about family and community and reflects my connection to the Wonnarua country through family on my father’s side. My inspiration comes from my deep connection to country and Aboriginal cultural practices, and the symbolism in my artwork represents the Australian First Nations people, our animals and the landscape. This road sign will document my journey for my grandchildren and children to come.”
- Featured designer in the 2019 Global Indigenous Runway at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
- Finalist in the NSW Indigenous Parliament Art Awards
- Work selected for the Sydney Christmas light show in 2006-2007
- 2007, selected art also chosen for the christening of the P&O cruise ship Pacific Dawn
Debra’s media consists of acrylics on canvas, printmaking, ceramics, textiles and fashion, photography, prints and graphic art. Her art tells a narrative of her Aboriginal cultural practices, focusing on cultural heritage, family and community. It is a combination of Secret Women’s Business and a process of acknowledging the past and moving forward to the future - a healing journey celebrating with song, dance and laughter.
Billboard site reference for Wonnarua Country
- NSW, Singleton South (Whittingham), New England Highway
Sharon Smith, Wiradjuri Country
Sharon Smith, a Wiradjuri woman from Cowra in NSW, is an emerging artist who created the artwork featured in the road sign acknowledging Wiradjuri country.
“Reflecting on my own connection to land and country, my artwork is based on my childhood memories of visiting the three rivers of Wiradjuri country and hearing the colourful stories being passed down from my elders. I believe the artwork I’ve created gives my ancestors and me a stronger voice and a unique way to connect with other members of the community. My art piece symbolises the river where my father was born.”
- Speaker in the 2019 Warriors for the Environment Artist Talks
- Exhibited works at Boomalli Aboriginal Art gallery, The Limelight Gallery and Kerrie Low Gallery
- Finalist in the Parliament of NSW Aboriginal Art Prize, 2014
- Finalist in the Fisher’s Ghost Art Prize, 2015
While Sharon works mainly with acrylic on canvas, she also enjoys the media of ceramics, sculpture and weaving. She is inspired artistically by her heritage and culture. Sharon is a proud Aboriginal woman of the Wiradjuri Nation and her art often affirms and explores her identity.
Billboard site reference for Wiradjuri Country
- NSW, Dubbo South (Peak Hill), Newell Highway
Jasmine Sarin, Dharawal Country
Jasmine Sarin grew up in Dharawal country. She is a self-taught visual artist and graphic designer. Jasmine is also a proud Kamilaroi and Jerrinja woman from NSW.
“I’m so excited my artwork on a billboard and for it to play a role in educating people about the history and stories of Dharawal. For me, it’s important people in the local community to become familiar with the stories and history of the area.”
- Cover art for Deadly Hearts 2 album
- Barangaroo Wayfinding Project – Signage Artwork
- Reconciliation Action Plan Artwork for Microsoft Corporation, The Benevolent Society, SAHMRI, MTC, BMW Dentsu
- Artwork Western NSW LHD (Aboriginal Health Program)
- ACI – Aboriginal Chronic Care Program (NSW Health)
- Exhibiting artist at Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative
Billboard site reference for Dharawal Country
- NSW, Heathcote, Princes Highway