This beautiful artwork holds so much meaning in what it represents, and how it came to be. Gifted to Logan Together at the end of ChangeFest, the art was produced by talented local artist Stevie O’Chin in collaboration with ChangeFest participants. Logan Elder Aunty Faith Green developed the storytelling around this and three other paintings presented to our fellow ChangeFest host organisations. Here’s what Aunty Faith wrote:
The turtle recognises the importance of moving at the right pace, and the need to remain both grounded and visionary as we seek out better futures with, in and for the communities we live and work in. Their power is to keep our work and our vision grounded, and to recognise that the ‘shiny’, quick fixes will come and go, but that the real work requires a series of steps and longer cycles of transformation. The turtle reminds us that the commitment we made at Changefest in Logan will require us to stay strong, focussed and not get distracted by obstacles or distractions. If this commitment is to lead to transformation we need to remain grounded in both the content of the statement and in the process through which it was created.
The three other ChangeFest partners received their own paintings featuring different Totems. Here’s Aunty Faith’s writing on those Totems:
The lizard has the power to regenerate and renew. When things get tough lizards are able to let go, renew and heal. Their power is to keep the commitment we made at Changefest in Logan alive by continually regenerating and renewing it in new places and contexts. The lizard is also good at defending and facing fears. It’s not easy to commit to change, but the lizard reminds us of the powerful forces of transformation that are enabled when we honour healing processes.
The platypus is not afraid to swim against the current. Their power is to recognise strength in diversity, and to see how different perspectives can lead to better outcomes. The platypus speaks to us about the effectiveness of collaboration, where we all bring unique skills and knowledges and combine these for the good of all. The platypus reminds us that the commitment we made at Changefest in Logan cannot be realised by one body working alone – it is a vision that requires us to bring together our uniqueness for a greater collective strength. In this way we can harness the power of the many in the pursuit of equity and justice.
The snake is a powerful reminder of the source of life and the need to sustain energy to keep good work alive. The snake is close to the ground, it draws energy from the earth and moves ever forward but leaves a reminder of the journey it has taken in its wavy track. Just as the snake sheds its skin, we need to shed our illusions and limitations as we seek to collaborate towards creating stronger communities. The snake reminds of the importance of maintaining the life-force of the commitment we made at Changefest in Logan, and to be conscious of how we use and share the energy that will be needed to keep the vision alive and ensure that we create real, lasting and positive change.