A vibrant dragonfly artwork, created by local Darug artist Leanne Tobin, has been revealed by the Westmead Redevelopment project to coincide with the launch of the project’s Aboriginal Legacy Strategy and Action Plan.
The piece will be adapted to promote the strategy, which aims to help Aboriginal people to feel welcome, safe and connected at Westmead.
The dragonfly emerged as an important symbol for Westmead, following discussions with staff, Elders and the community. The community told us they wanted local Aboriginal history, and connection to the land, the natural environment and landscape, reflected in arts at Westmead.
This information was passed onto artist Leanne Tobin, who created an artwork called Dance of the Dragonflies. The artwork features five swirling dragonflies painted in vibrant blues and green on a background of stunning ochre colours.
Leanne said: “some Aboriginal communities see them as a cheeky sticky-beak, who always wants to know what’s happening - flitting in, and then zooming off to the next point of interest.”
Leanne considers her artwork important for Westmead: “the artwork reflects the vibrancy and movement of the dragonflies, as they congregate and move through their journey of life. It serves as a reminder of the change, access and adaptability reflected in the transformation happening at Westmead today.”
Leanne said dragonflies remind her and many Aboriginal people of the importance of families and gathering together. She noted that dragonflies often gather in groups around waterholes and are an indicator of healthy environments.
“They share the important healing properties from various medicinal bush plants as they fly from one plant to another - like the doctors, nurses and pharmacists of our hospitals [who provide care to a range of patients].”
Leanne’s artwork will be adapted on an ongoing basis in communications connected to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legacy Strategy and Action Plan, which was launched on Tuesday, 8 May 2018. The strategy includes commitments to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in the workforce, employment and training, and the design of healthcare spaces and services.
Watch artist Leanne Tobin discuss her artwork while in her studio. If you have difficulties accessing this video, you can view it on our YouTube channel.
Download a fact sheet with more information on Dance of the Dragonflies and the importance of the dragonflies to many Aboriginal people and communities.