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Blog · Community & Lifestyle

Aveo residents lend a hand for NAIDOC Week

Aveo residents and employees have marked NAIDOC Week by embracing their commitment to reconciliation and cultural understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the group’s retirement living communities. 

Leading First Nations artist and musician, Jeremy Donovan, took part in a Q&A session for residents at Aveo’s Brisbane community, The Newstead Residences, which was live-streamed to Aveo communities and offices around the country. “The residents are very open to learning about indigenous culture and they acknowledge they grew up in a different generation,’’ Mr Donovan said.

The proud Kuku-Yalanji man from North Queensland was commissioned last year to create Aveo’s first indigenous artwork as part of its Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). The art now hangs proudly at The Newstead Residences and prints of the work are displayed at many Aveo communities.

“This week’s event on the topic of ‘Walking Together’ was an opportunity for the Aveo community to continue important conversations about what NAIDOC (National Aboriginals and Islanders Day Observance Committee) Week means,’’ Mr Donovan said.

“I take my culture into their world, and we are able to have open and honest conversations in a safe place created by Aveo. The staff and residents are free to ask me anything.

“It’s not just about NAIDOC Week but an ongoing narrative at Aveo. They are genuinely committed to their RAP.’’

Aveo’s National Reconciliation Action Plan Manager, Jonathan Dale said Aveo’s goal of advancing reconciliation supported its core values of kindness, care and respect.

“One of Aveo’s first steps in its RAP process was to bring our values to life in the form of an artwork and we were lucky to work with Jeremy. He is not only a talented visual artist but brings his experiences from working to improve the lives of First Nations Peoples to educate others and contribute to positive change,’’ Mr Dale said.

“His work with residents and staff has created a lasting impression and an enthusiasm for reconciliation at Aveo.

“There are several key initiatives set out in Aveo’s RAP and a major goal is how we can do more to make Aveo an employer of choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples where they feel truly respected and valued.’’

Mr Donovan said the involvement of residents was essential in the creation of the art project.

“Our shared conversations about their life experiences helped shape the artwork’s design. I traced residents’ hands for the central element of the painting and incorporated the paths they had travelled to come together as elders in the Newstead community,’’ he said.

“We have more in common than what makes us different. Now we are striving towards bridging gaps and fostering an understanding.’’

The event concluded with a delicious morning tea thanks to FigJam & Co, a 2nd-Gen Indigenous business that serves Australian dishes using locally sourced ingredients.

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