Events - Reconciliation Week

​This National Reconciliation Week (NRW) 27 May to 3 June, 80 Carmel College Thornlands students joined together to make their mark on special cloth.

The cloth, known as a Story Cloth, allows the students to use lemon juice and chalk to design, map out, and then bleach their designs onto a piece of canvas within a series of workshops throughout NRW.

Facilitated by Tania Budd, Artist and Founder of Story Cloth Connection, the students used their artistic talents to contribute to the cloth with their paintings a representation of each student's commitment to 'Be a Voice for Generations.'

Some of the symbols painted onto the cloth by student contributors included depictions of Uluru, snakes, lizards, shells, and other native flora and fauna.

Carmel College Principal Stephen Adair said the Story Cloth is part of the school's commitment to reconciliation.

“Aligning with this year's NRW theme we felt the Story Cloth was the perfect way we could allow our students to engage in symbolism and do something which allows them to express what they're thinking and feeling," he said.

“Having students engage and create their own symbolism for reconciliation is important, particularly for our First Nations students.

“Enabling our First Nations students to create their own symbols fosters a sense of ownership and empowerment within the reconciliation process."

Sonja Carmichael a Ngugi woman belonging to the Quandamooka people expressed her appreciation for being invited to be involved in the reconciliation process.

"It is part of bringing us together and sharing our stories and knowledge," she says.

“There is so much significance in passing on knowledge through cultural practices, including art made by First Nations Peoples, symbolising the footsteps of Ancestors, and sharing intergenerational stories with younger people.

“Expressing and sharing our stories with the students through art forms is just beautiful."

Artist Tania Budd says the technique of using lemon juice on cloth, provides the students with a medium that is accessible and free from the intimidation that paint may sometimes evoke.

“This process teaches the students the value of patience, as the bleaching effect using lemons takes time to develop."

As part of the Story Cloth process Carmel College First Nations family and community members were also invited to make their mark on the collaborative artwork.

Once complete the Story Cloth will be publicly displayed at the College inviting all visitors to share in the stories and collective journey of reconciliation.

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​© Brisbane Catholic Education, Carmel College, Thornlands (2023)