Sacred past

Sacred Wetlands highlights the cultural importance of Bibra and North Lakes and the sadness at the destruction of bushland to make way for the aborted Roe 8.

In the painting the lakes are represented by tortoises, and the dots are people walking on the footpath, explains Aboriginal artist Rod Collard.

Beautiful place

“It was like a supermarket to our people, and a beautiful place.”

Collard, 65, took up art 15 years ago after doing a TAFE course and his work reflects a mature artist examining the past.

• Rod Collard’s Sacred Wetlands. Photo by Jenny D’Anger

“As a child I remember all the old people — especially our old lady grandies — telling us stories about our country, where and how we lived, and how the men would hunt, build camps, and the seasonal work they did.”

Collard says the old folk had no drawing materials so they would create art in the sand.

“Foot prints and paw prints. V shapes are women, strokes are men and little circles are children,” he says.

As a child he watched his family take on backbreaking work clearing other people’s land by hand for little money.

“Our history is disturbing and depressing, but I feel through Aboriginal artwork and their stories it really helps bring people from all cultures together,” he says.

He creates his own designs, patterns and vibrant colours: “[Which] come from within our hearts and soul.”

Collard has exhibited extensively, and is part of a team of indigenous artists commissioned by the state government for artwork at the new Perth Children’s Hospital.

You can catch Collard’s latest exhibition at Kidogo Art House, Bathers Beach until April 12.


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