If you have ever had the opportunity of visiting Curious Me HQ, you will see this proud piece of artwork hanging in the middle of our undercover space.
What it means and why we commissioned it goes so much further than curriculum and early years framework. You see, Kaycee and I grew up surrounded by people from all walks of life, and yes, that includes Aboriginal people. Members of our extended family who identify as Indigenous; Cousins, uncle and great Aunty. And for many many years now, that includes my beautiful niece, Lola.
For me, I struggle to write this, with a fear of offence and political correctness. But in my heart, I want to speak the truth and share my personal opinions. So in true form, **** it.
As a fellow white Australian, it's hard for me to understand the negative attitudes and
racist perspectives our Indigenous peoples have come to know. I have heard the slurs, the jokes and the comments. I have defended our Aboriginal people, countless times. Because I fail to grasp the lack of understanding, compassion and empathy often shown by my peers.
Why? Because we grew up knowing the truth. The hurt. The violence. The beauty in their
culture and the ugly that was done by ours. Without even knowing it, it was something deeply imbedded in our upbringing. We got to experience throwing boomerangs in the paddock and trying to catch them (more like duck and don't get hit!), listening to the enormous sounds by the didgeridoo, bashing on clapping sticks with no beat, food cooked by campfire and star gazing. As we have grown, I have come to realise this is not something all children experience, I wanted to use our voice, Curious Me's voice, to share the importance of opening the conversation and bringing the beauty of Indigenous culture into your homes.
If you really understood "the Gap" and why it exists, you would be reaching for reconciliation too.
Our parents have many pieces of artwork painted by our Uncle, a very talented Indigenous artist. Kaycee always insisted when we had the budget, we must commission him to complete an authentic piece for our space. And when we did, she got in contact...
His people are from a Coastal Country, which is often reflected in his artwork. Deep blues making a common appearance. He will also only paint the native wildlife to be found in the surrounding area. So Kaycee and he sat, had a good conversation about our little business and with this little bit knowledge, here is the story of this painting, which tells the journey of Curious Me.
At the heart is our community, represented by the circle in the centre, surrounded by children and two 'teachers'; Kaycee and myself, Angie. Outward to the far left, you will see a sleeping echidna, showing the moments where we had to pause and rest. Followed by a turtle, reaching his long neck high towards his goals.
Over to the right, the koala is symbolic of the children that come to play, with the kangaroo jumping in joyous fun. Finally, the goanna is showing the strength to continue on, despite how hard the journey can be.
Each term, we include a week that is themed to celebrate our First Nations peoples. Not because we feel a sense of obligation like many others within the early years space, but because we genuinely want share our love and respect into the World's oldest and continuous living culture.