Gubbi Gubbi artist Maggie-Jean Douglas has won the 2021 National NAIDOC Poster competition from a record 260 entries.
Maggie-Jean describes herself as ‘a proud murri’. Her mob is Gubbi Gubbi from the Sunshine Coast region of Queensland though she grew up on Goreng Goreng Country and has been living on Ngunnawal Country for the past three years.
Maggie-Jean has always ‘had an appreciation for anything that involved creating’ and her earliest memories of being inspired by art came from her Aunty’s artworks.
She said she has always had a strong connection to Aboriginal art ‘[I] never thought I’d be able to create it the way I have over the past few years’.
‘I’ve wanted to enter [the NAIDOC Week poster competition] for a few years but didn’t feel like I could represent the themes well enough,’ she said.
She entered the competition for the first time this year as she ‘felt really strongly about the theme and what it represents for our community.’
Her artwork, Care for Country, is about how Country has cared for and healed First Nations people in all senses of the meaning for so long.
‘I think the past few years have felt particularly draining for our community and I agree that it’s time for healing and repairing’ she said.
‘When creating Care for Country, I kept in mind that this meant spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially and culturally.’
Her bright and vibrant artwork includes the different colours of landscapes around Australia to show how ‘they come together in our beautiful country and to make people feel hopeful for the future.’
When she found out she had won this year’s NAIDOC poster competition, she couldn’t believe it at first.
‘It’s such an important time of year and to have created an artwork that the National NAIDOC Committee felt was a good representation of the theme means so much to me.”
For Maggie-Jean, winning the poster competition is extra special for her as NAIDOC Week is one of her favourite times of the year.
‘I’m not sure why but I always feel extra proud to be Indigenous through NAIDOC Week.’
‘I love knowing there’s people around Australia doing more than usual to celebrate us, our history and our culture.’
For Maggie-Jean, her greatest hope is that her artwork can help ‘Indigenous people to feel hopeful and encouraged to keep fighting for positive change and to protect our culture’.
Download your copy of the 2021 National NAIDOC Week poster and banners. Free printed copies will be available through the National Indigenous Australians Agency’s regional network.