Australian Wildlife Protection Council

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First Nations artist: "Respect the animals and the land"

Some of us at AWPC recently met Wahlubal/ Bundjalong artist William Walker whose paintings speak to us on the themes ‘Respect Country’ ‘Respect the Land’ ‘Respect the Animals’. We asked William to please share more about this and about himself.  Here, his words and paintings.

Jingeela (Hello)

Respect the Animals 

The animals have roamed this country before we did. All animals are totems. When you hurt them, it hurts us. The animals are our best teachers, they are so in tune with the land. They warn us and teach us so much. Because of land clearing and greed, our animals lose their homes. This puts our eco systems out of balance. We need to respect the animals, only take what we need and allow them to breed. Our land needs to heal and rejuvenate.

Everything is connected through the circle of life. When we live in harmony with the animals and the land, caring and sharing, everything is kept in balance and is healthy. 

The animals teach us so much. The Gentle Mother Gooramun (Kangaroo), like all mothers, looks after her young joey so well and protects them from danger. She guides the joey till they are old enough to survive on their own. We need to Respect the animals and their homes.

I grew up on the Rocky River (Tabulam NSW). I started painting when I was 16. I paint landscapes. I always paint the country I come from, Wahlubal Country. When I paint, I feel Peaceful, Calm and Connected to my Ancestors. My paintings tell stories about what it was like back in the Dreaming, the Love of the Land, the Animals and the Culture. I hope my paintings will give people an understanding of what it was like back then and about looking after the country.

The Best Classroom

The Elders Always Gather The Jarjums (Children) Around And Teach Them About Sharing, Caring And Respect. They Also Teach Them To Care For The Animals And Respect The Land. Even Today As Grown-ups, We Still Sit Around And Listen Respectfully To The Elders Pass Down Tribal Knowledge. We Just Sit And Listen Until Their Story Is Told And Then Ask Questions. This Is My Classroom. It Is The Best Classroom. Yoway!

Mother Gooramun Leading the Way
I love painting Wahlubal Country
THE GWEARNJ (POSSUM) IS MY TOTEM PROTECTING ME. SHE COMES OUT AT NIGHT AND LETS MY FAMILY KNOW SHE IS THERE LOOKING OVER US”
Garamah Bugelbah (Respect and Thankyou) Yarmboo (Later) William Learn more and contact William at williamwalkerrespectingcountry.com