AERO is committed to using evidence to achieve excellence and equity in educational outcomes for First Nations children and young people. We can only realise this commitment by building positive relationships with First Nations peoples and communities and embedding reconciliation in our culture. We know that listening to, learning from, partnering with and travelling alongside First Nations peoples and communities to understand how best to work together is critical to our success as an organisation.
The artwork represents the journey of life and our connection to language, spirituality, food, shelter, plants and water. It tells the story of the universe.
In the centre is the cabbage palm, ma peal, which is central to our lives. My knowledge of ma peal comes from the bush classroom, taught to me by my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, who understood the interconnectivity of their surroundings.
This artwork is a declaration of my country and illustrates my rights to its ownership, to its freshwater and saltwater estates, and all the land from Staaten to Nassau River and east to Staaten River National Park.
About the artist
Ma Wanjibung Pukun (English name, Shaun Edwards)
Wanjibung is a Traditional Owner and leader of the Kokoberrin peoples of western Cape York Peninsular. He is an established visual and cultural artist and the founder of Wildbarra clothing company.
Wanjibung’s art is about his homeland, its creation and its story. His work is featured in such collections as the Art Gallery of NSW, ANU, Cairns Regional Art Gallery, and many private institutions.
Wanjibung was the Director of Opposition Research of the Give us a Go Campaign, the founder of the Kowanyama Baby Festival, and co-founder and spokesperson for the Indigenous Environment Foundation. In 2020 he received a cultural award as part of the Australia Day acknowledgements. He holds a Master of Philosophy in Public Health (University of Sydney) and is completing a Ph.D. Visual Anthropology.