More than 1,200 students from across the Hunter can now add exhibited artist to their credentials thanks to Speaking in Colour and their Resurgence program.

Nine primary and secondary schools, two early childhood services, a local Aboriginal community group and a Central Coast cancer service have all been a part of cultural enrichment programs from Speaking in Colour which culminate in the Maitland Cultural Resurgence exhibtion at Maitland Regional Art Gallery, on display until Sunday 15 May 2022.

Speaking in Colour Managing Director CHERIE JOHNSON says Maitland Cultural Resurgence is an exciting showcase of woven sculptural art pieces and Possum Skin Cloaks.

“Works in the exhibition have been created by local Aboriginal community group ‘Hunter Aboriginal Weaver’s Alliance’ and Central Coast cancer services wellness group, ‘Coast Can Care’, as well as school groups and early childhood services that involved both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students and teachers.”

“The ‘end point’ for these projects is not about the artworks, but rather the ceremony of connectivity, relationality and cultural strengthening. It is an honour for Speaking in Colour to facilitate cultural programs and see young people establishing a connection to community and Country.”

The objectives of these programs are set by the school, then the programs are then tailored to suit the participants and achieve these objectives. Most schools indicate they want to increase:

  • student engagement, including attendance
  • increase wellbeing for students and teachers
  • maintain and achieve high expectations for all learners
  • increase community and parent engagement
  • support for teachers to embed Aboriginal perspectives mapped against curriculum and assessed outcomes and
  • provide Aboriginal cultural opportunities at school for all students to participate and learn localised cultural knowledge

Designed to equip teachers', these programs are accompanied with teacher professional learning to aide implementing Aboriginal perspectives into their classrooms. At one local primary school 84% of staff members surveyed believe they are likely to use content provided by Speaking in Colour, with 90% saying it was valuable teacher professional learning.”

“Cultural enrichment is paramount in all Speaking in Colour programs and while individual cultural knowledge and ability vary, we have found the hunger to learn and create is shared by all. Through the cultural journey of our programs, it is wonderful to see community coming together, with students becoming the teachers and sharing what they have learned with their friends and family.”

“Generations have shared and worked collectively on projects, and for some participants, this may have been their first opportunity to do so.”

The showcase includes the following works

  • Morisset Public School – ‘Tiddalick’ The Greedy Bullfrog
  • Hamilton Child Care Centre – ‘Wallaby’
  • Bolwarra Public School – ‘Izzy’ The Koala
  • Maitland Public School – ‘Parky’ The PBL Owl and ‘Tawny Frogmouth’
  • East Maitland Public School – ‘Giant Emu’ and possum skin ‘Adolescent Sized Cloak’
  • CoastCanCare – ‘Eadie’ The Echidna
  • Tenambit Public School – ‘Freshwater Turtle’
  • Abermain Public School – ‘Grevillea Flowers’
  • Greta Public School – ‘Junior’ The Brushtail Possum and possum skin ‘Adolescent Sized Cloak’
  • Kearsley Public School – ‘Sunny’ The Bearded Dragon
  • Hunter Aboriginal Weavers Alliance – ‘Cultural Cup’
  • Rutherford Technology High School – ‘Teenage Sized Cloak’ – Three cloaks
  • Rutherford Technology High School – ‘Adult Sized Cloak’
  • Uniting Adamstown Preschool – ‘The Kindness Cloak’

Maitland Cultural Resurgence - Maitland Regional Art Gallery

On exhibition until 15 May 2022