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Waterways have remained a sacred place for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for more than 65,000 years, forming the blueprint of ancient dreaming stories. 

To celebrate the deep connection First Nations peoples have with water, we embarked on a collaborative project with 2 local artists to create an artwork which represents our WA water story. 

The next chapter - Aboriginal artwork

Finding the perfect storytellers was a journey.

We teamed up with Nani Creative, a deeply inspired Aboriginal-owned design agency, who were eager to work on their first large-scale collaboration project.

Through a thoughtful selection process, we looked for artists who embodied the spirit of WA’s water – their background, cultural heritage, location within the state and artistic experience all played a role. Eventually we landed on our dream team. 

Meet the artists

To create our unique artwork, Yamatji and Noongar Geraldton based artist Carol Martin teamed up with up-and-coming Whadjuk, Ballardong Noongar Perth based artist Kaedisha Westberg.

Despite the distance, our artist duo brought a powerful combination of traditional and digital works which helped to bring the design to life.

Carol’s experience with traditional methods of canvas and acrylic paint combined with Kaedisha’s mixed media and digital design skills was the perfect recipe.

Finalising the intricate design, the artists requested an elder from our Aboriginal Employment and Development team colour the first set of eyes on the artwork. This follows ancient cultural practices to bring sight to the rainbow serpent. 

The process was deeply moving for everyone involved. Both artists spoke about the incredible inspiration they found in working together, and the immense knowledge they gained throughout this meaningful project with Water Corporation. 

This artwork is now being used statewide, representing the significance of our WA water sources to Aboriginal people and culture.

Carol Martin

Artist Carol Martin

Kaedisha Westberg

Artist Kaedisha Westberg

Reading the artwork

The artists have provided their individual narratives of the artwork (below).

The Dreaming Serpent is responsible for creating the water courses and the connection to our people. The waterways remain a very sacred place for First Nations People. It is the source of life, and our belief is that all life must have water. Without it life cannot exist.

The meeting places are different communities and the connecting lines are waterways connecting each meeting place. The squiggly lines around the meeting places and connecting waterways represent   moving water, showing people using the water for different needs, celebrations and healing. Giving a “ripple” effect.

Water will always find a way, barriers cannot stop it for long, water will endure and flow regardless of the barriers. We are reminded of the rocks, that begin as huge blockades and end up being eroded and crumble into sand with the force of the water it meets.

There have been many times I have sat and stared at the ocean, estuaries and waterways. The colour of the water and the design is really hard to put in an image, but you can see the way that water changes when you relax and take in the harmony of water and its therapeutic effects.

This panel is made up of different Aboriginal art symbols that represent people travelling within and between the regions. It also represents food, rain, different weather patterns, water movements and animals.

Life began in the depths of the oceans. We believe that life in all of its forms is sacred and essential to the survival of all living things. The co-existence of species is based on the very act of creation. Our people were given the task of protecting all things, such as plants and animals. This was the task given to us and the responsibility for our lands and waters and all things that live on that country. 

Water Corporation's new Aboriginal artwork

Our new Aboriginal artwork.