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Koori Inclusion Action Plan artist
Emma Bamblett has been commissioned by CFA to paint an image that represents our new Koori Inclusion Action Plan.
The brief was to include a number of strands in the painting from the use of fire and fire in the landscape to caring for country, land management and community safety.
“I paint in layers,” explains Emma, “and I like to make connections between the different parts of the canvas. I like my paintings to be easy to read so my symbols are not hard to interpret. I want people to be able to see the story.
“It’s important to me that the community, not just Koories, look at this painting and see what a big job CFA does … to see their commitment. I hope people will have positive associations.”
Emma has been a practicing artist since 2006 after being inspired as a child by her Aunt Barbara Egan who pursued the same craft. Emma watched her aunt work and shared conversations about artistic ideas and processes and how to market yourself.
Also inspiring Emma’s work on the CFA canvas is her day job at the Victorian Aboriginal Childcare Agency. The agency runs training and development programs for staff and external agencies working in the child and family sector. They also run programs to support Aboriginal families in financial literacy, emergency relief and cultural family strengthening.
It’s a different but complementary angle on community safety to CFA’s, with family resilience building into wider community empowerment.
Emma is a Wemba Wemba woman born in Echuca. Her mother and grandmother helped shape Emma’s view of the land in different ways.
“My grandmother was born under a tree beside the Murray River,” she says. “She and my mum have always passed on messages to me about looking after the land: don’t leave rubbish; look after trees; don’t destroy them for no reason. They talked about traditional burning off to nurture the land and produce new growth.
“And Mum is always on my case about fire where I live. ‘Do you have the car packed?’”
It’s a caution born of experience, unfortunately, with Emma’s brother playing with matches as a small child and burning down a building right next to their house.
Emma’s Mum’s gentle prodding paid off in January this year when a grassfire approached Emma’s house in Mernda. The family bushfire survival plan is to not be around if fire approaches and that’s just what happened – one plan well executed.
Emma will be at CFA headquarters for the unveiling of her acrylic-on-canvas artwork during NAIDOC Week, 6-13 July. The exact details will be released soon.
Numerous groups and organisations use the words ‘Koori’ and ‘Koorie’. In choosing the spelling of the Koori Inclusion Action Plan, CFA has been led by the Department of Justice.