New NAIDOC from Charlie Chambers Jnr
TEAGAN KUM SING
april 19, 2023
We are proud to launch our final NAIDOC 2023 artwork. This piece is worth the wait.
Introducing ‘Respecting Our Elders’ from the prolific traditional painter Charlie Chambers Jnr, an Aboriginal Jarowair man.
Charlie's collection is available across our full NAIDOC range. Polos, fashion tops, tees, scarves and shawls, and all drinkware and accessories.
Respecting Our Elders
Charlie’s take on ‘For Our Elders’ is a reflection of his deep understanding of the intergenerational transfer of culture, and how none of this would be possible without Elders.
The painting is a beautiful representation of the way culture supports and sustains a community, and how this is handed down from generation to generation.
He takes us on a journey through time with his piece, starting from the first cave paintings to the modern community today.
"It’s all about respecting our Elders. They're the ones who put the food on the table, the ones who taught us our right and wrongs.”
“Our Ancestors left paintings on the wall for 65,000 years to pass the stories and knowledge to the younger generation today, and to the Elders that pass it onto the younger generation,” Charlie says when describing his ideas behind the design. “All handed down from generation to generation. It’s all about respecting our Elders. They're the ones who put the food on the table, the ones who taught us our right and wrongs.”
Behind the Design
At the top are cave paintings featuring animal tracks, hand prints and boomerangs on the dark walls. Charlie describes that these paintings are on the walls of a sacred site. “It could be a burial site,” he says “or it could be a gathering site where the Elders all come together and have their talks. It could be a birthing place,” he says, the options are numerous. “But they left these stories up on the wall for us to pass on. They taught us how to go hunting, what to look for: the Kangaroo tracks, emu tracks.”
At the bottom there is a hunter (right) with a spear and shield, and a gatherer (left) with a digging stick and coolamon. The teachings are handed down to people who use them to feed and protect the community: they support the community using the knowledge learned from the Elders.
In the centre is a large campsite, with generations gathered around it. Parents and grandparents form the outer circle and are looking over children and grandchildren, who form the inner. At the sides there are two tall figures - a male and a female Elder. These Elders hold the same tools as the hunter and gatherer below them. And they are looking down over the community to protect it. The community is gathered together, and "the Elders are always participating,” Charlie says, “as the Ancestors look over everyone.”
“The Elders are always participating,” Charlie says, “as the Ancestors look over everyone.”
Charlie Chambers (Jnr) is an Australian Aboriginal artist belonging to the Jarowair tribe from the Toowoomba, Dalby and Bunya mountain region.“When I was young, I would sit with my elders and listen to these Dreamtime stories, but the stories would go in one ear and out the other.
It was when I got older that I started to think about these stories and start painting them”. “The main reason I love painting is to keep the stories that the elders told me about the community alive”.
Charlie has been working with Yarn for years and has contributed many artworks to our collections.
For Our Elders
Charlie’s design ‘Respecting Our Elders’ is now available across our entire NAIDOC Week 2023 offering.
His use of traditional, Ochre-inspired colours and dot-painting techniques create atmospheric and bold pieces to celebrate Earth’s oldest living culture.
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