Published on: 5 August 2021

Wednesday night saw the School celebrate the official opening of this year’s NAIDOC Week Art Exhibition.

In keeping with the theme of this year’s NAIDOC Week celebrations ‘Heal Country’, the School’s 13 Aboriginal students prepared wooden shields carved with depictions of totem animals from each of their places of origin. The totems are incredibly significant – they are a natural object, plant or animal that is inherited by members of a clan or family as their spiritual emblem and define peoples’ roles and responsibilities and their relationships with each other and creation.

The creation of the shields was guided by a presentation from Tyrown Waigana, winner of the 2020 NAIDOC Poster Prize. He influenced the boys’ research and creation of their individual totems. The boys’ shields now proudly hang in the Old Boy’s Gallery and will remain there for viewing from 4 to 27 August during school hours or by special appointment for all members of the community.

In addition, a Totem Trail has been created on campus, featuring acrylic versions of the shields. This trail represents protection of the country, Whadjak Noongar land in the surrounds of the beautiful Derbarl Yerrigan (known as the Swan River), that the boys have come to from all over the state.

Indigenous Program Co-ordinator Sam Wallace described the importance of holding the annual art exhibitions, saying “This is another way of sharing the knowledge and talent of our Aboriginal students and First Nation people with all of the students and the wider community”.