Heal Country a power-ful message

Expression: The artwork, made by indigenous youth from the Latrobe Youth Space was featured at Loy Yang for NAIDOC week . photograph tom gannon


Employees from AGL’s Loy Yang A power station came together last Friday to unveil a collection of artworks by local Aboriginal youths on display at the station for NAIDOC Week.

In line with this year’s NAIDOC Week theme ‘Heal Country!’ the artworks were designed by members of the Latrobe Youth Space to reflect how country is inherent to identity and sustains all aspects of our lives including spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially and culturally.

More than 40 Loy Yang employees attended the event which included a Welcome to Country by Gunaikurnai elder Uncle Lloyd Hood, a smoking ceremony and the raising of the Australian, Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal flags.

The 11 artworks were displayed on each of the two Loy Yang towers on Thursday and Friday night and received plenty of traffic from passers-by.

For all to see: To mark NAIDOC week, artwork made by Latrobe Youth Space’s Indigenous members was projected on to the cooling towers at the Loy Yang power station last Thursday and Friday, this artwork was made by local artist Montana McStay and features her totem, a little blue Wren. photograph tom gannon

Local artist Montana McStay, who oversaw the creation of the artwork across three sessions said the young people involved had loved seeing their artwork displayed on the towers and around the station.

“They did not think it was going to be that big and that so many people would see it, it gives you an idea of what kids think about and how they interpret it,” she said.

“They’ve loved getting together and getting back in to culture and really sitting down and having a chat because I think that’s what they’ve all missed, especially last year when we didn’t have a lot of cultural stuff because of that.”

Ms McStay said NAIDOC Week and the displaying of the artwork would hopefully open people’s eyes to Indigenous culture and motivate them to become more involved.

Cleansing: Robert Wandin led the smoking ceremony and invited AGL Loy Yang workers to walk through the smoke. photograph tom gannon

“I really hope this encourages everyone to be more a part of the Aboriginal community,” she said.

“Just open your eyes at what you can and can’t get involved in, there are a lot of things you can just step in and be a part of the Aboriginal community.”

AGL Loy Yang general manager Nigel Browne told The Express the event at the station provided an opportunity to strengthen the company’s understanding and awareness of the meaning behind NAIDOC Week.

“For us to have one of the biggest billboards in the region for them to put their artwork up on is really good and creates a good community awareness,” he said.

“We’re committed to increasing our awareness and strengthening our bond with the community and the cultural aspects of Indigenous Australia, so for us on site NAIDOC Week is part of that awareness.”