4 July 2023

Riverina Indigenous artists chosen to add splashes of colour and calm to new Griffith Base Hospital

| Oliver Jacques
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Indigenous artist standing next to her painting

Carolyn Williams will be doing artwork for the new hospital. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Two Riverina Indigenous artists have been chosen to do artwork that will be featured in the new Griffith Base Hospital, which is scheduled for completion in 2025.

Leeton’s Elijah Ingram will collaborate with Wagga-based Gregory Carosi to create colourful artwork within the emergency department arrival area, while Griffith’s Carolyn Williams will do a painting on glass window panels between the community courtyard and community lounge at the front of the hospital.

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“This artwork will combine the rich legacies of Aboriginal people and the influence of multicultural communities that make Griffith unique,” NSW Health Infrastructure executive director Amanda Bock said.

”It will create a vibrant, welcoming and culturally safe environment for all patients, visitors and staff.

“The artwork will help provide privacy and beauty and share cultural knowledge for visitors within a new lounge area, providing a calm space they can use while family or friends are receiving treatment and care.”

woman and man

Elijah Ingram with director Coralie McKenzie at a recent screen forum. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Ms Williams has been a longtime supporter of community causes. She recently donated a piece of her artwork to the charity Big Brother Big Sister, which is trying to set up a youth mentoring program in town.

She said she was motivated by her passion for improving mental health outcomes among young people.

“Griffith is a town that has had a lot of suicides recently,” Ms Williams said.

“There is a lack of mentors and support for young people, particularly Indigenous youth. That’s why I was really keen to get behind this cause.”

Ms Williams also works as a juvenile justice caseworker and uses art therapy to help put her clients back on track.

Health Infrastructure Arts Program director Brigette Uren said the artists had been selected by the project’s Arts Working Group. This group comprises representatives from the Murrumbidgee Local Health District, Griffith Regional Art Gallery, the local community, and Health Infrastructure in consultation with the Griffith Aboriginal Community Working Party and the Multicultural Council of Griffith. Their appointment follows input led by Narrandera-based creative team The CAD Factory.

“The arts and culture program for the new $250 million Griffith Base Hospital aims to cultivate and support a positive, lasting cultural legacy for the community and creates a significant opportunity to celebrate the creative talent of the region,” Ms Uren said.

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The positive news for Mr Ingram and Ms Williams was well timed on the eve of National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week, an annual celebration of the history, culture and achievements of First Nations peoples that occurs between 2 and 9 July.

In Griffith, the Aboriginal Medical Service will once again host the NAIDOC Family Fun Day at the Community Gardens between 10 am and 2 pm on Thursday, 6 July. The event will feature a smoking ceremony, an elders’ tent, a traditional dance carnival, pony rides, a reptile show, face painting, and free flu vaccinations and health screenings. The Fun Day is open to all, with a free lunch and snacks on offer.

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