When you arrive at any of the metropolitan TAFE Jobs and Skills Centres, you will see signage with the message Wanju’ meaning ‘Welcome’ in the Noongar language of the Aboriginal people of the South West of Western Australia. The signage pays respect to the land on which the centre stands, and is an invitation and a welcome to Aboriginal clients and all members of the community. The Aboriginal Seasons artwork used in the Wanju signage was created by Nate Stuart from Rockingham JSC. Nate’s designs relate to each centre and tie in with local Noongar language and culture, depicting the six Aboriginal seasons of the Noongar people. In the Noongar culture, changes in the environment signalled the change in season, and with each season Noongar people moved to take advantage of natural resources and opportunities.
To celebrate NAIDOC week, local Aboriginal artist Biara Martin was invited to be artist in residence at two of the South Metropolitan TAFE Jobs and Skills Centres to re-create their Aboriginal Seasons artwork.
The artist and her art
Biara Martin is a proud Wadjuk artist from Perth, Western Australia. "Biara" is the Noongar word for banksia. As a local artist from Kwinana, it was fitting for NAIDOC week to invite her to recreate the original Noongar Aboriginal Seasons artworks.
Biara's style of art is traditional dreaming and contemporary landscape that is mostly influenced by the native flora and fauna of her traditional landscapes and the dreamtime stories that were passed down by her ancestors.
Day one: Kambarang
Pictured below is the original artwork by Nate Stuart, for the Peel (Mandurah) TAFE campus. It represents the Kambarang season, which for the Noongar people is October and November – the wildflower season – a time for warming and fishing.
In the video, you can see Biara working on her recreation of the design; painting it on to plywood. Her completed artwork will be proudly displayed in the Peel Jobs and Skills Centre when it opens (soon!) at the Mandurah TAFE campus.
Kambarang: Original artwork by Nate Stuart
Kambarang: Recreated by Biara Martin
Day two: Makuru
Biara's second day as artist in residence for NAIDOC week was at the Thornlie TAFE Jobs and Skills Centre, once again recreating a design from the original Aboriginal Seasons artwork by Nate Stuart.
For Thornlie the season chosen is Makuru, which for the Noongar people is June and July – the cold and wet season – when the rains replenish inland water resources.
Pictured below left is the original artwork by Nate. Alongside that is Biara's finished artwork, which will be proudly displayed at the Thornlie Jobs and Skills Centre – be sure to check it out next time you visit!
Makuru: Original artwork by Nate Stuart
Makuru: Recreated by Biara Martin