Opening of the Health nayri artwork
The Department of Health is pleased to officially open a new specially commissioned Aboriginal artwork as part of our commitment to improving cultural visibility within the health services we provide to the Tasmanian community.
In 2022, Public Health Services and the Department of Health’s outreach health services initiative TAZREACH partnered to deliver the Health nayri project, commissioning a Tasmanian Aboriginal artist to create artwork reflecting “Health nayri”, meaning “good health” in palawa kani language.
A call for submissions from Tasmanian Aboriginal artists saw Takira Simon-Brown selected from six submissions.
Takira’s three Health nayri artworks are now displayed at Oral Health Services Tasmania’s Southern Dental Centre in New Town. The artworks are designed to be individual pieces but can also be displayed side-by-side as each piece connects with the other two, forming what is known as a “triptych”.
The Health nayri artworks tell a story of mobs coming together to heal. The paints incorporate Tasmanian Aboriginal imagery including a healing hire, native hens representing exercise, raspberries and blackberries representing bush tucker, good foods and medical plants.
Water runs through each of the three artworks to acknowledge the waters of life, cleanliness, and resource. A bark canoe represents mob coming from across the rivers and oceans returning to communal healings.
Secretary of the Department of Health, Kathrine Morgan-Wicks, said improving cultural visibility within Tasmanian health services is a priority of Tasmanian Aboriginal people.
The new artwork demonstrates the Department’s commitment in this regard, as evidenced by the Improving Aboriginal Cultural Respect Across Tasmania’s Health System Action Plan 2020-2026, which is focused on creating culturally safe health services, environments, and workplaces for Aboriginal people.
“The commissioning of the Health nayri artworks is one initiative to increase cultural visibility and create safe and welcoming environments for Aboriginal people,’’ Ms Morgan-Wicks said. “As a Department, we are committed to providing a culturally respectful health system for Aboriginal people in Tasmania, and making a positive impact on the health, wellbeing and safety of Aboriginal people in Tasmania.
“It was an honour to attend the official opening of these wonderful artworks that will take pride of place at the Southern Dental Centre in New Town.”
The opening of the new artworks was attended by Takira Simon-Brown, representatives from Tasmanian Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations, Tasmanian health leaders, and representatives of Public Health Services, TAZREACH and Oral Health Services Tasmania.
The TAZREACH programs aim to improve health outcomes for all Tasmanians by supporting various health professionals to provide outreach services across the State, especially to people living in rural and remote communities. Many of the programs aim to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal communities through improved coordination of services and linkages between Aboriginal organisations and the range of services available.
The Department of Health has also introduced Health nayri template resources that are available for DoH staff to use.