Originally written and published by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) on 10 November 2022.
The TFFF thanks Red Dust Role Models for providing permission to reproduce this story.
Malak Malak People
Nauiyu is an Aboriginal community of 444 people in the Daly River region in the Northern Territory. Their place, around 2.5 hours’ drive from Darwin, is said to be one of the best Barramundi fishing spots in the country, and locals hold a strong connection to their land and culture. Despite the idyllic description, Nauiyu experiences alcohol and other drug misuse within its small population. Yet there is strong community support for real solutions that respond to community needs, are culturally appropriate, and involve building local capacity and furthering local leadership.
Enter Red Dust. Founded by John Van Groningen, the organisation was born out of his work with youth in the Aboriginal community of Lajamanu in 1984. Today, it delivers innovative health promotion and community development programs that are co-designed through trusted relationships with remote First Nations communities. For the people of Nauiyu, a community-based diversion program celebrating cultural identity and pride would provide a means to connect and engage the vulnerable community.
Consulting the community, Red Dust’s Local Drug Action team coordinated the Red Dust Community Art Collaboration project with local organisations. Green River Aboriginal Corporation identified sites for the murals; Merrepen Arts provided the connection to local artists and culturally relevant iconography; and Ironbark provided access to volunteers and project participants. Proper Creative, based in Darwin, was commissioned to paint the murals in conjunction with local project participants.
With collaboration between local artists, community members, young people, and service providers, and a $5,000 Strengthening Rural Communities grant funded by the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation & Pinnacle Charitable Foundation, Red Dust will deliver three large murals. The project will not only create beautiful public spaces and bring the dreaming of the Nauiyu community to life, it will also support the health, wellbeing and future opportunities for local youth.
While the mural project is ongoing, you can see the impressive first piece, featuring Daly River artist Kieren Karritpul here.
Kieren Karritpul works on his mermaid dreaming mural with community members and Proper Creative artist Jordan Conrad.
Cover photo: Kieren Karritpul and Proper Creative artist Jordan Conrad in front of Kieren's mermaid dreaming mural. Photos courtesy of Red Dust.
Originally written and published by FRRR on 10 November 2022.
The TFFF thanks Red Dust Role Models Ltd for providing permission to reproduce this story.
Red Dust Role Models is supported through the Connectedness stream in partnership with FRRR.