Maggie-Jean Douglas - a Gubbi Gubbi artist from South East Queensland - is the winner of the prestigious National NAIDOC poster competition for 2021.
Her entry – Care For Country - was chosen from 260 entries in the national competition.
The 21-year-old artist said her first thoughts on hearing the 2021 NAIDOC theme ‘Heal Country’ was about how country has cared for and healed First Nations people in all senses of the meaning for so long.
“I wanted to create an artwork that told that story and made me hopeful for what’s to come in future years,” she said.
“When creating Care for Country I kept in mind that this meant spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially and culturally.”
“I chose to create a bright and vibrant artwork that included the different colours of the land but showed how they come together in our beautiful country and to make people feel hopeful for the future.”
“I’ve included communities/people, animals and bush medicines spread over different landscapes of red dirt,green grass, bush land and coastal areas to tell the story of the many ways country can and has healed us throughout our lives and journeys,“
Ms Douglas, who grew up on Goreng Goreng country, currently lives on Ngunnawal Country where she works as an Advisor in the Commonwealth Public Service.
“Appreciating Indigenous art is something that is highly valued within my family, we were always taught that it was a way our people were able to share their stories between generations and now, with people of different cultures,” she says.
“My cultural heritage is something I’m extremely proud of and to be able to express myself through this medium means a lot to me. Telling my own stories and the stories of others is something I find deeply valuable because of the impact it can have.”
Ms Douglas’ has also been commissioned for artworks for the Pharmacy Guild of Australia Queensland Branch and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Office of the Pacific. In 2020, she won the Ruby Olive Jewellery Women for Women lanyard design competition.
Each year, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists aged 13 years or older are invited to submit an entry to the National NAIDOC 2021 Poster Competition.
The winning entry is awarded a $10,000 cash prize and the artwork recognised across the country on the 2021 National NAIDOC poster.
The iconic NAIDOC poster has been celebrating and promoting NAIDOC Week since the late 1960s and rose to national prominence in the 1970s with the establishment of the Indigenous rights movement.
Free printed copies of the 2021 National NAIDOC Poster will be available through the National Indigenous Australians Agency’s regional network.