About the Artwork

The Healing Journey

The Healing Journey

'The Healing Journey' by Riki Salam. Agency: We Are 27 Creative.

This artwork 'The Journey of Healing' - is based on the journey of the Stolen Generations. What they went through, the enduring hurt, pain, trauma and great loss, loss of identity, culture and family, and what people and their families continue to go through today. The journey of healing and understanding and acknowledging our past is part of the healing process, for us as individuals, for us as a peoples and for us as a Nation - with knowledge comes understanding and with understanding comes compassion and with compassion comes Healing.

Beginning from the centre, the central circle represents Australia as a nation, the States and Territories (8 sections) where children were taken from and relocated to under the Assimilation and Protection Acts. Moving outwards, the silhouetted people represent the Stolen Generations - taken away from family, culture and country. 

The four Spirit Ancestors, representing both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (male and female), have a deep connection with Country - Land, Sea, Sky and Culture. 

They stand strong and resilient for them and their Families, the next generations. 

The next layer represents woven bindings that connect us from the past to the present - the series of twelve 'U' - shaped symbols represent the organisations that support and bring awareness to the Stolen Generations today. They are connected to the pathway of Healing. The Boab Tree represents resilience and deep listening, it holds water from deep within the earth and knowledge of generations past, its leaves represent new growth for the next generation. The seed-pod represents future knowledge that comes with the next generation – a bright future to illuminate the pathway to healing. 

Water flows from the Tree and creates a pathway across the land, guiding the people of the Stolen Generations and Australia on a journey of healing. Freshwater mixes with Saltwater as we walk together as one, learning and growing. We navigate by the stars across Land, Sea and Sky and are guided by spirit totems - animals that live in different parts of the landscape. The Kangaroo and Emu, which are found on the Australian Coat of Arms, are symbolic of Australia as a Nation coming together to reconcile and heal the past to build a stronger, more inclusive, future for all Australians. The Journey of Healing continues as we support the members of the Stolen Generations and together we grow, learn and heal.

The Healing Journey

Darkness encompasses, light is revealed, the journey is long. 

Voices call out, country guides our way. 

Ceremony begins, songs are sung initiation begins. 

Hidden secrets revealed, this land is renewed. 

Flame ignites, heat cracks seed, new life begins. 

Water flows, spirit is replenished, knowledge enriches us all. 

Sun rises on a new day, we come together, we are united as one - 

Our journey to healing continues...

A poem by Riki Salam

Creating 'The Healing Journey'

The artwork throughout this website was created by artist Riki Salam of We Are 27 Creative, a Supply Nation certified creative agency.

In consultation with the Australian Human Rights Commission, and with input from the reference group, We Are 27 Creative developed a series of key themes and messages to be incorporated into the artwork. These themes included: 'Healing is an ongoing journey'; 'Past, present, future'; 'Strength and resilience'; 'A sense of hope'; and 'Richness of culture and knowledge.'

With these themes in mind, We Are 27 Creative developed an initial visual concept and the artwork story began to take shape. Riki then painted the main artwork, in black ink, on paper. The painting was then photographed and uploaded to a computer, where it was refined and the colours were added. At this final stage, Riki also created a variety of additional digital design elements.

The final product includes both a physical and digital versions of the artwork 'The Healing Journey' as well as a number of additional digital designs.

About We Are 27 Creative

We Are 27 Creative is a full service agency with a diverse range of offerings,
from custom Indigenous artworks symbolising an organisation's Reconciliation Action Plan, to culturally-inspired collateral for online and physical presences.

We Are 27 Creative helps organisations to speak from the heart through original and distinctive creative outputs including: bespoke artwork, branding & collateral design, and cultural creative workshops.