Excelsia College was thrilled to commission Sydney-based First Nations artist Debra Beale to paint an artwork that embodies Excelsia College’s journey across its 40-year history. Debra has been practising art for over 25 years and is from the Palawa/Yorta Yorta and Gamilaraay/Wonnarua nations.
The anniversary artwork is titled Spiritual Places which Debra says represents significant places. ‘Within the artwork you can see these significant places which form the circles and pathways representing family, communities and education. The circle gives a sense of “connectiveness” which holds strength and support for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal peoples to thrive and become great leaders.’
The background symbolises many pathways representing connections, relationships and growth formed over many years. The pathways represent a spiritual journey guided by the ancestors and the higher power.
‘The circle holds an ancient living Aboriginal culture brought to the surface symbolising a lifetime of learning in a circle. Knowledge is held by the elders and passed down through generations of our people which I honour and pay my respect to,’ explains Debra.
Debra’s artwork also speaks of morals and beliefs and how these can be transformed into our daily lives. It speaks of education, learning new skills and applying important values.
Debra explains, ‘I believe in God, the Father. I also believe in “Bunjil” – “Biami” our creator. I believe in openness, creativity and curiosity which I feel creates passion within oneself. My artwork has many embedded colours that represent this. The colours also represent time, space, travel in a network of people connecting to land, sea, sky and stories.’
Spiritual Places beautifully links Excelsia College to the community with emphasis on education, skills development, and life values.
To find out more about Debra, you can visit her website here.