In July 2019 Saltwater Freshwater ran a Women’s Culture Camp for Aboriginal women within our region. The Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance (SWFW) Aboriginal Women’s camp was made possible by funding support from the Department of Communication and the Arts through their Indigenous Languages and Arts funding. The Women’s Culture Camp started with a beautiful “Welcome to Country” and smoking ceremony performed by Belinda Donovan and Cheryl Donovan from Unkya Local Aboriginal Land Council. The activity for this first afternoon was beading with Aunty Kathy Stevens from Wrapped in Colours. This was very popular with all the women. We made earrings, bangles, necklaces, anklets and eyeglass holders all of which the women could take home with them. On Thursday afternoon the women walked over to the beach to enjoy an afternoon with Chels Marshall from Nambucca Heads Local Aboriginal Land Council who taught us about climate change and its impacts on the individual, family and community in response to Global warming. We used sand art as a way of viewing the impacts and what an impact this had on the women. “Colouring climate change chart at beach” was something of a challenge but all the women enjoyed it immensely.
We had an art workshop where we all worked collaboratively on an art piece. The workshop was facilitated by Alison Williams from Yarrawarra’s Wadjar Gallery who shared her expertise with us and helped us to create an awesome artwork on canvas. We brush painted, spray painted and laughed the whole time. We had fun picking aspects of the camp to paint on the canvas and in the end, we had a beautiful art story to share. The camp was a great success and included a packed program of weaving, jewelry making, art, dance and much more. We hope to run another Women’s camp in 2020 – watch this space.