Kokatha art displayed at Carrapateena

ART: Tamika Reid's piece measures at more than three metres wide and two metres high. Image: supplied.
ART: Tamika Reid's piece measures at more than three metres wide and two metres high. Image: supplied.

Stunning artwork created by local Port Augusta Kokatha artists will soon be brightening up the walls of the OZ Minerals Carrapateena Mine.

Carrapateena mine is located on land traditionally owned by Kokatha people and the pieces were commissioned as a celebration of the partnership between OZ Minerals and the Kokatha Aborginal Corporation (KAC).

For the competition, local artists were encouraged to design pieces that were inspired by the lands around Carrapateena while also incorporating elements of Kokatha culture.

Employees at Carrapateena were then invited to vote on the entries to select the winning designs.

One of the successful artists, Shirley Williams, chose to enter her design as a way to share her artwork with a wide audience.

"My piece is about OZ Minerals and KAC working together to create value and a better future for all of us," Shirley said.

"I chose to use bright colours to convey success, while the footsteps show that we're walking this journey together."

Shirley Williams.

Shirley Williams.

Like Shirley, Port Augusta artist Tamika Reid predominately paints as a hobby with skills learned from her Nan and Mum.

"I started learning colours and techniques from my family and now I paint as a stress reliever," Tamika said.

Tamika's artwork is particularly impressive in person, measuring at more than three metres wide and two metres high.

"It was pretty hard to find a canvas that big to start off with," she said.

"And then when I was painting, I had to do a lot of it outside because it didn't really fit in the house."

Leah and Jasmine Brown, founders of the local art company Wulla Designs, were successful in the third category which called for a medicinal theme.

The duo have had a particularly successful year, being commissioned to create a line for the 2021 London Pacific Fashion Week.

"We chose to weave in a few different elements of traditional bush medicine," Jasmine said.

"If you look at the painting you can see the quandong, honey ant, witchetty grub, wild bananas and the sleepy lizard. These all have specific meaning in our culture and we're proud to include them in our design."

Leah and Jasmine Brown, Wulla Designs.

Leah and Jasmine Brown, Wulla Designs.

Leah and Jasmine come from a long line of artists, learning their craft from their parents and grandparents.

"We named our business Wulla Designs after our grandfather because we wanted to recognise the members of our families who came before us while also leaving something that our kids can carry on after we're gone," Jasmine said.

Oz Minerals and KAC signed a native title agreement in 2013, followed by a Partnering Agreement at the opening of the Tjati Decline in 2016.

"We are so pleased to have Kokatha people sharing Kokatha culture with us at Carrapateena," Oz Minerals Communities Superintendent Matthew Kidner said.

"By acknowledging the history of Kokatha people and the significance of the land we work on, we can work together to provide a range of opportunities for everyone involved."

As well as the canvasses, the competition also received entries for a statue or sculpture to be displayed at the mine site.

Kerry Moosha, Director of the Flinders Children's Centre and Tji Tji Wiltja Preschool created the winning design, in collaboration with families who attend the preschool and artist Craig Ellis.

Children from Tji Tji Wiltja Preschool creating the sculpture.

Children from Tji Tji Wiltja Preschool creating the sculpture.

The design features a large boomerang partially encased by copper, representing the mining process and the richness of the minerals in the surrounding land.

The base of the sculpture is covered in the hand prints of the children at the preschool and their involvement was a very important part of the process.

"In our Culture we include children in activities in the richness of real time learning being in the moment," Kerry said.

"This builds capacity, connectedness and creativity. This is the way our children learn and stay connected by doing and learning together from their peers, being inclusive. In our Culture children and their participation are highly valued, as they are our future."