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Coles unveils new Indigenous artwork at Alice Springs store

Madelaine Dickie -

Coles Alice Springs has recently unveiled a new work by leading local Indigenous artist Janet Golder Kngwarreye as part of the company's commitment to working with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders to reflect the communities it serves.

'My Country' was created by Alice Springs artist, Janet Golder Kngwarreye and depicts her relationship to the country and her traditional homelands. Janet said the piece conveys knowledge of the land that was essential to the survival of Indigenous people in Central Australia.

"There is always plenty of bush tucker and animals to hunt, but if you do not know the dreamings or 'Tjukurpa' you will not know where to find the water or food," she said.

The designs show flora and fauna such as the bush yam, which has been a staple food for the Aboriginal people in Central Australia and of which she is one of the custodians within her community. The piece also features the yam leaf, oranges and tomatoes, rock holes, water soaks, as well as sacred women's ceremonies.

Coles commissioned the piece because of its depiction of native foods and their importance to local Aboriginal cultures, a message that resonates with Coles team members in their role of providing food and everyday essentials to the Alice Springs community today.

Recognising local Indigenous culture in our stores is part of Coles' Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander strategy which also prioritises creating employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians and reflecting the communities Coles serves.

Coles Indigenous Engagement Advisor Martin Taylor said the project was a significant acknowledgement of local culture.

"It's important for Coles that our stores and team members are connected to the cultures of the areas in which we operate. We worked extensively with the local Palya Proper Fine Art gallery, who were tremendous in connecting us with Janet and developing this artwork which links us deeply to the local story."

"Indigenous art is a great cultural gift and Coles is excited to celebrate that culture with this artwork in store."

Coles supermarkets now has Indigenous art in all of their supermarket stores across the Northern territory and have worked with local Darwin Indigenous artist Les Huddleston & Joanne Nasir to complete work for their Darwin stores.

Coles, Australia's largest corporate employer of Indigenous Australians, recently committed to further increase its Indigenous workforce to more than 5500 team members by 2023, equivalent to five per cent of the company's total headcount.


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