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"Our culture and heritage is a mixture of beautiful, and ancient traditions."

Artist Kyralee Shields created 'Gimbawali' artwork for BaptistCare Gimbawali Place.

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05 September 2023

News | Community Housing

If you ever venture into the community space at Gimbawali Place, you will find a breathtaking acrylic on canvas artwork that was created by artist, Kyralee Shields.

Kyralee is a proud Darug and Darkinjung woman who was commissioned to create a special artwork for the community room of BaptistCare's new social and affordable housing site at Carlingford.

“I have always been a very creative person which I’ve expressed through a variety of channels. Over the past few years I’ve felt a growing need to express my connection to culture through my paintings," she said.

Embracing her heritage was important to Kyralee after her grandmother lost five children to the Stolen Generations, including Kyralee's own mother.

Artist Kyralee Shields pictured with her artwork
Artist Kyralee Shields pictured with her artwork, "Gimbawali"

"After being removed by the police at age five, my mother spent her childhood deprived of family contact and her connection to culture severed. At 16, she ran away and found her parents again," she said.

Kyralee said she feels a deep connection to representing Indigenous culture.

"Our culture and heritage is a mixture of beautiful, ancient traditions, strong connections to land and our people," Kyralee said.

"I attempt to capture this in my paintings, but also the hurt and damage that has been done as well. From all of this, I gather my inspiration to create my artworks which are a celebration of my freedom to express my cultural identity; a freedom that was denied my mother, and all my maternal grandmothers going back to pre-settlement."

"My modern contemporary artwork aims to represent and applaud them while still honouring traditional form and will inspire pride for our culture in my children and their descendants.”

Kyralee also worked on BaptistCare's Reconciliation Action Plan artwork
Kyralee also worked on BaptistCare's Reconciliation Action Plan artwork

The symbolism of the 'Gimbawali' artwork:

  • A path of Birrung (stars) guides residents home to Gimbawali Place, Yudi, Birrung and Nura.
  • Blossoming native flowers and bottlebrush offer a symbol of hope and new beginnings while gum leaves symbolise growth.
  • The mountains represent the ancient Blue Mountains. Their unwavering silhouette, which spans the horizon of Carlingford’s landscape, offers a sense of stability.
  • Teal circles represent BaptistCare out in the community offering support to those in need and among them are circles with people around them which represent the families and community members who BaptistCare has helped through Gimbawali Place.

To follow Kyralee, click here.