Spiritual Healing unveiled

A new artwork by sixteen-year-old Indigenous artist Heidi Chatfield, titled ‘Spiritual Healing’, has been unveiled in the foyer of the Ararat Hospital at East Grampians Health Service.

Ms Chatfield is a Djab Wurrung descendent from the Gariwerd (Grampians) region and her contemporary paintings reflect the history and stories of her heritage.

The artwork was commissioned to assist East Grampians Health Service to create a culturally welcoming environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at the health service.

An art brief was created and distributed throughout the region asking for submissions from Aboriginal artists. Ms Chatfield applied and was chosen to create the work.

Speaking at the unveiling EGHS Board president Matthew Wood said Aboriginal people have a deep and continuous connection to the local lands, evidenced by over 900 registered cultural heritage places within the Ararat Rural City local government area.

“The local indigenous population is growing and we are experiencing higher rates than ever of indigenous users of our services,” Mr Wood said.

“East Grampians Health Service is committed to taking action at a local level to better meet the needs of aboriginal people, reduce the inequalities in healthcare access and improve the quality and effectiveness of care for Indigenous people.”

Mr Wood said over the past year EGHS has worked to develop an action plan to strengthen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Security at EGHS.

The action plan focuses on:

The action plan is due for completion in July 2017 and the commissioning of the artwork ‘Spiritual Healing’ formed part of the action plan.

Gariwerd (Grampians) National Park is a rich cultural landscape with many rock art sites which tell the stories of the Indigenous people of the area, and these dreamtime stories can be seen in Ms Chatfield’s artwork.

Ms Chatfield said the artwork took about two months to complete.

“The inspiration was the health service, I was given the title and then worked around that,” she said.

Ms Chatfield said the artwork is composed of a number of different elements, representing the Aboriginal flag, Torres Strait Islander flag, Djab Wurrung communities, Woman Elder, Spiritual Healers, Healing Rockwells, Man Elder, Welcoming Hands and East Grampians health Service.


Pictured above: East Grampians Health Service Board president Matthew Wood and Indigenous artist Heidi Chatfield with ‘Spiritual Healing’