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Artist Scott Rotumah at work at Mending Fences. Photo by Allen Peate.
Artist Scott Rotumah at work at Mending Fences. Photo by Allen Peate.

Mending Fences

A new initiative launched in Tweed Shire aims to support local youth development through art practice. Through Arts Northern Rivers Indigenous Arts Development Project, artist Scott Rotumah has been employed as a mentor to help bring this project to fruition.

Scott has been an artist for over 12 years now, and during this time has learnt how to merge his two passions - surfing and his coastal heritage, into his artwork.

Having grown up at Fingal and Cabarita, Scott is a two time Indigenous surf champion, winning the competition in 1996 and 1998, and in 1997 coming in third place.

Scott paints as a way of continuing his connection to the Tweed and over the years has been a mentor to many Indigenous people within the surfing community.

Asked about his involvement in the first few weeks of the Mending Fences Project, Scott says he has found the weekly sessions challenging, yet rewarding.

'The kids are providing the artwork and ideas and I am providing the guidance and mentoring. I hope to be able to help the kids realise their potential with this project, I think that's the most important thing, is to not give up on your goals and you can do whatever you put your mind to,' he adds.

The 10 week Mending Fences Project comes to an end during Youth Week, hopefully with an exhibition or showcase of the young people's work.

After that Scott says he'll keep working on developing his passions. His long-term career goal is to be running a successful Aboriginal Cultural Surfing tours business in the Northern Rivers.

Mending Fences is a partnership initiative supported by Connect Partnership Brokers, South Tweed Bowls Club, Tweed Shire Council, Tweed Heads Police, Tweed River High, Arts Northern Rivers and Nortec.

For more information on the project contact Allison Lonsdale. Email allison.lonsdale@connectnr.com.