Caring for Country in schools reconciliation challenge

The annual Schools Reconciliation Challenge is launching an online exhibition today with the theme Caring for Country.

06 November 2020
Three students wearing red school uniform stand next to each other holding artworks. Male teacher stands behind the students.
Image: Minmi Public School students Lachlan, Lily and Giselle show their artwork with teacher Mr James Griffiths.

Student artwork and stories reflecting what reconciliation means to young people is on display from today in the Schools Reconciliation Challenge virtual exhibition.

The initiative from Reconciliation NSW encourages students in Year 3 to 10 to submit artwork or pieces of writing inspired by this year’s theme, Caring for Country.

Reconciliation is about building relationships, respect and trust between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

This year more than 600 students entered the Reconciliation Challenge with a final selection of 56 artworks and 12 written pieces showcased in the online exhibition.

The selected works are also being projected at the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo until 16 November during NAIDOC Week and for the next two weekends at Museums Discovery Centre at Castle Hill.

Minmi Public School has three students as finalists in this year’s Challenge with Year 5 student Lily Dollin and Year 6 students Lachlan Reed and Giselle Percy selected to have their artwork featured online.

School principal Alison Fittler said for the first time this year all students in Years 3 to 6 entered the Challenge.

“We thought it was an important opportunity to raise our students’ awareness of what reconciliation is, in addition to being able to express what reconciliation means to each of them personally,” Ms Fittler said.

Lily said her artwork, featuring the Aboriginal flag, related to reconciliation with the gumtree representing Aboriginal people and their spirits connected to the land.

“It relates to Caring for Country with the gumtree surviving through all that has happened,” Lily wrote in her entry.

Giselle described her work being about how the land will always be Aboriginal land and showing how Aboriginal people kept the land healthy and stable.

A live launch of the digital display will be held via Zoom on 10 November with Sarah Mitchell, Minister for Education and Don Harwin, Minister for the Arts and Aboriginal Affairs.

Visit the Schools Reconciliation Challenge website for more details and to view the online exhibition.

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