My Place Is Your Place – Cultural Artwork at the Lismore Base Hospital

My Place Is Your Place - Cultural Artworks at the Lismore Base Hospital

In partnership with the Aboriginal Maternal Infant Health Service (AMIHS) and Northern New South Wales Local Health District, Arts Northern Rivers are working to deliver cultural artworks to the Women’s Care Unit (WCU) at the Lismore Base Hospital.

Expressions of Interest were sought by female Bundjalung or Githabul artists and/or group of artists to create key cultural artworks in selected areas of the WCU. The selected artists include Amarina Art, Sylvia Khan, Debbie Taylor, Bec King, Bev Garces and Saltwater Women.

In May 2019, the AMIHS Aboriginal Health Workers (AHWs) from the Richmond Network, met with the Women’s Care Unit (WCU) Management. The AHWs expressed their concerns that the AHWs and AHMIS clients don’t feel safe or welcomed at the WCU. Issues raised included the lack of a space for Aboriginal families, the ‘clinical’ look of the environment, the lack of Aboriginal cultural representation and cultural connection to country. Together they brainstormed ways to improve the cultural safety at the WCU – including a room being allocated for Aboriginal families, and to undertake a cultural arts project to make the WCU a more welcoming and culturally safe environment for Bundjalung and Githabul women and their families.

In February 2020, the AHWs successfully gained funding for this cultural art project. The AHWs engaged with Bundjalung Elders for their support (limited due to COVID-19); and completed a community survey to hear from Bundjalung, Yaegl, Gumbaynggirr and Githabul people about what cultural artwork they would like at the WCU. Over 70 survey responses were received. A partnership with Arts Northern Rivers was established to commission artists and create artworks at the WCU which respond to the community survey results.

Image: Kylie Caldwell, Birthing Place, 2021