Issue 8
Monday, 07 October 2019
Charles Darwin University
Jason and Aunty Bilawara Lee and the Blue 3 “Gurinira” mural
Jason and Aunty Bilawara Lee and the Blue 3 “Gurinira” mural

Aunty Bilawara planning greater access, integration

By Andrew Hall

Larrakia Elder-in-Residence Bilawara Lee (Aunty B) has transformed a little-used space on Casuarina campus into what will become a centre for First Australian Elders and is already proving useful in providing a place of peace and companionship for women of the stolen generations.

As a first step in the conversion of the Building Blue 3 space, Aunty B commissioned her artist brother, Jason, to paint a vivid mural titled “Gurinira” – the Larrakia word for “owls” – at the entrance of what is to be the “Darriba Narri” (old man / old woman) Elders Healing Centre.

“The mural seems to be getting some positive attention and feedback from passers-by, so hopefully that is a good omen for the success of our healing centre project,” Aunty B said.

“We’ve cleaned up what used to be a storage area and decorated it with artworks created by stolen generation women and now it’s a great spot for them to get together.

“Jason is going to paint a second mural on the west side of the building and later in the year we’ll have an official opening of a place where our Elders feel comfortable and happy; a place where they can share their traditional knowledges and stories with the whole university community.

“Eventually I would like to create a meeting and talking circle where the Elders can conduct healing ceremonies.”