Central Highlanders are invited to join in the region’s reconciliation action plan ‘RAP’ journey and show support by starting their own.
Under the theme ‘Get your RAP on – Central Highlands’, council encourages people to purchase a shirt wrapped in Indigenous artist Andrew Doyle’s work and share an image wearing the shirt on social media using the hashtag #getyourrapon.
Mayor Kerry Hayes said the campaign should not just bring awareness to council’s reconciliation action plan but provide a platform for people to talk and learn about the topic.
‘At the core of reconciliation sits a shared understanding that is the basis of strong respectful relationships we seek to build,’ he said.
‘We are very lucky to have many talented Indigenous artists in the region, whom all share stories through their art.
‘It’s these stories that allow us to see the world through each other’s eyes and encourage conversations.’
Mayor Hayes encouraged people to read the story of Mr Doyle’s artwork and wear a shirt.
‘Wearing a Get your RAP on shirt shows your support to reconciliation and our region’s Indigenous artists,’ he said.
‘It might be that you only learn about this story, or it might be a conversation starter for more, or it might be the beginning of someone’s personal reconciliation journey.
‘Whatever it is, it’s a personal as much as a shared commitment to respect and value the diversity and opportunities our region has to offer.’
- Orders for the shirts will open between 8 and 29 March with expected delivery within six weeks; just before National Reconciliation Week. Pre-register your interest here.
- Cost is $37.50 per shirt plus delivery.
- The shirts are made-to-order by Indigenous fashion and merchandise provider Dezigna. Dezigna is on a mission to showcase authentic Australian Indigenous artworks and designs to every Australian and the world.
- Council does not profit from the shirt sales.
The story: About the artwork
Council held an Indigenous Polo Shirt Design Competition in 2020. More than 300 people voted on three submissions from local Indigenous artists. Andrew Doyle’s artwork was the winning piece. It tells a story that we all know – the journey of life. But Doyle explores this journey within a context that we don’t all see.
The blue and green circles represent each stage in life. Starting in the bottom left-hand corner represents the baby stage, then moving up to the next one is the child stage then on to the teenage stage. Finally, the top right-hand corner is the adult stage.
The yellow, red and orange represent the journey to each important stage in our lives. You can see the journey from baby to a child has a lot of supports and no negativity or hardship, then the journey from child to teenager gets a bit tougher with fewer supports and more negativity and hardship. Then the journey from teenager to adulthood brings even more hardship and less supports.
The designs in the circles represent our identity as we always hold on to that no matter what we are going through. The white background represents the western world we live in and the black designs are us living in that world; sometimes being criticized for not letting go of our black identity. The black background is our world, our old people and their stories. The white designs represent us trying to adapt but still holding on to our culture, traditions and protocols.
The journey: Council’s reconciliation action plan
Council officially marked the start of its reconciliation journey during NAIDOC Week in 2020, when Reconciliation Australia endorsed council’s inaugural Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan. With the plan, the council has committed to develop and enhance meaningful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and develop a vision for reconciliation. Council also commits to learning and sharing in Indigenous peoples cultures, histories and contemporary issues.