When you walk through the doors of Centacare’s new Gold Coast hub, you can’t help but feel captivated by the vibrant and distinctive artwork adorning one of its reception area walls.
The bespoke piece was created by 17-year old Brooke Sutton, a contemporary Indigenous artist and proud Kalkadoon woman from the emu foot province around Mount Isa in North West Queensland.
The hub was officially opened earlier this year, offering a place where Gold Coast families, children and adults can access a range of specialist services including family law counselling, family dispute resolution, family and relationship counselling and domestic and family violence support.
Centacare Area General Manager Em Crooks commissioned Ms Sutton to create the hub’s centrepiece after stumbling across her work by chance.
“It took me quite a while to recognise that Brooke is the younger sister of Chern’ee Sutton, who completed the artwork for the Commonwealth Games here on the Gold Coast in 2018,” said Ms Crooks.
“At Centacare we are working toward healing and a community in which there is mutual respect and deep solidarity between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and those of us with differing heritage.
“I saw this piece as an opportunity to engage clients, employees, and stakeholders in a cultural learning experience – one that creates understanding and appreciation of the richness of First Nation’s cultures and histories as well as embracing our own traditions and spirituality.
“I love the colours that Brooke uses and felt it was a good way to bring brightness into people’s lives, particularly some of the vulnerable people that we work with.
“It’s important that we offer our clients a culturally safe space and I hope that this artwork represents our commitment to inclusion.”
Taking her inspiration from Australian plants, animals and landscapes, particularly in the coastal seaside of her hometown in the Bundaberg region, Ms Sutton tells the story of Centacare’s growth, from its humble beginnings in 1958 to the large and diverse organisation it is today.
Having found a passion for painting when she was six years old, Ms Sutton paints her stories with visually unique colour, composition and texture and a style that is anchored in reconciliation.
“I feel honoured to share my artwork and my culture with people around me,” said Ms Sutton.
“We are in a time of reconciliation so it’s good that my style, which mixes traditional Aboriginal heritage with a modern contemporary twist can reconcile two worlds and bring everyone together.”
This NAIDOC Week (3-10 July) Centacare reaffirms its commitment to social justice and the importance of healing and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
All our services are inclusive and welcoming of Indigenous and non-Indigenous clients and our teams respect and strive to respond to the cultural needs of individual clients and their local communities.