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Indigenous art work serves to honour Legacy centenary

Andrew Brown -

Artwork showcasing Indigenous vessels will adorn the Australian War Memorial in honour of women who supported families through conflict.

The artwork by Waradgerie sculptor Lorraine Connelly-Northey was made to mark the centenary of the veterans charity Legacy.

Comprised of up of 100 coolamons - vessels used by Indigenous communities for food preparation - made out of salvaged metal, the sculpture pays tribute to communities on the home front while war was playing out overseas.

Each of the coolamons represents different soils of Waradgerie country in central NSW.

Ms Connelly-Northey said the work paid tribute to the strength and resilience of Indigenous women.

The sculpture includes 100 coolamons - traditional Aboriginal implements - made of salvaged metal. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)

"Coolamons are traditional Aboriginal implements used to winnow native grass seeds into flour for seedcakes to feed the protectors of our country and abroad, including Aboriginal soldiers who fought for freedom, one for every year of Legacy's history," she said.

The work was unveiled at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra on Friday and the memorial's head of art Laura Webster said it was a significant piece.

"When displayed in the galleries the scale and beauty of Lorraine's work will engage visitors encouraging a broader understanding and acknowledgement of the role of women in caring and supporting families affected by war," she said.

"This work increases the representation of the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children in the memorial's collection."

The charity Legacy was set up following the end of World War I to look after the families of veterans after the conflict.

As it marks its centenary, the charity now supports more than 40,000 partners and children of veterans.

Its chair Eric Easterbrook said the artwork was a powerful statement.

"This sculpture is a way to recognise the centenary of Legacy in Australia and ensure that it encapsulates everything that Legacy stands for and its connection with the Australian War Memorial," he said.

"This is no better demonstrated than with this striking Indigenous artwork."


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