Aboriginal Mural Transforms LIVEfree Project Offices: Embracing Our Past and Our Future
For a long time, LIVEfree Project has aspired to transform our office space into one that reflects our respect for the Aboriginal people and the Awabakal land that our offices are built on. We recognise that they are the traditional custodians of the land and acknowledge that they never ceded sovereignty and remain strong in their enduring connection to the land. As an organisation we had a growing desire to ensure that the expression of LIVEfree Project had a deep respect for every journey of pain and trauma; and yet holds true to the belief that the human spirit can rise in the midst of adversity and challenge and be found stronger.
It was our hope that one day we would be able to create an office space that acknowledges and embraces each generation and continues to surround them with nurture and strength; to encourage greater connection with our indigenous brothers and sisters’ and their unique culture.
At the end of 2022 we received support through a collaborative effort with a Newcastle City Council project called "Pitch for Good" and the "Hunter Future entrepreneurs Program”. With this support, we were able to work collaboratively with local people and schools to transform our office spaces with beautiful Aboriginal artwork that tells the story of our history and ongoing purpose in the community.
This new mural was created for us by the inspiring artist, Makaela Cameron of Badagarang Designs. Makaela is a proud Dharug woman who has captured for us the LIVEfree story of walking together on this land with our Indigenous brothers and sisters, side by side, shouldering each other through hardship and pain. Listening to their sacred stories, learning, and holding the depth of their challenges and allowing that space to be a place of new beginnings, where the tears shed water the ground ahead; and bring in new seasons of flourishing community growth.
“There has been much excitement especially from our aboriginal school students as they watched the evolving space take place over quite a number of months. Such a beautiful journey of transformation and lasting acknowledgement of the beauty that embracing culture and the telling of story brings”.
- Chris Jones, Director of LIVEfree Project
The design includes the main mural on the front left of our office building, as well as story sticks installed in the garden at the right of the building. The story sticks tell the inspirational testimonies of the past generations, on whose shoulders we now stand. Expressing respect for their past labour and acknowledging their bravery in deciding to stand and bear witness to pain that gives way to courage and births new beginnings with the potential for more.
The design is an expression of our deep respect for Indigenous people, their history and the healing journey we are on to listen, understand and reconcile together as a community.
Mikaela Cameron of Badagarang Designs upon seeing her installed artwork for the first time:
“Oh my goodness this is stunning and so beautiful – it’s better than I could have imagined…this is hands down the best way ever my art has been used”
They are reminders to stand tall, to not be ashamed, to courageously tell the stories so together we won’t forget but instead fuel the future dreams of an emerging generation.
Thank you to the support of the Newcastle City Council and incredible work of Makaela Cameron , it is our hope that our offices will always be a space where first nations people feel respected and welcomed.