Aboriginal Wiradjuri woman
Lani Balzan is a proud Aboriginal woman from the Wiradjuri people. Painting is Lani's passion and she uses her art to showcase the amazing beauty of her culture.
As an art therapist and an educational officer, Lani endeavours to make a positive difference in the lives of young people and their families by teaching them about Indigenous culture.
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Because Of Us
As a proud Indigenous woman, I created this painting based on personal success and the empowerment of other Indigenous women throughout my life, and from past achieving Indigenous women who have helped shape who I am today.
Walu-ma-rra means to be a guardian; to protect. This painting is very special to me. It has my totem Maliyan (the wedge-tail eagle) and represents our beautiful country and the importance of protection.
The wedge-tail eagle is significant to many of our peoples as it has a specific meaning and it brings healing. The strength and beauty that the wedge-tail eagle represents makes it perfect for this design.
In the painting, the Maliyan represents the guardian of our land. This year's NAIDOC theme “Heal Country” calls for all of us to continue to seek better protection for our land, our waters, sacred sites and our cultural traditions from exploitation, desecration and destruction.
Since colonisation, so much has impacted our land, animals and our culture. Land clearing, urban development, change in traditional fire management, farming and pollution to name a few. These all have a significant impact on our ecosystems through destruction of our native plants and animals.
We have lost so much already and it is time we changed. Our land and animals are our culture and by having the land destroyed, our sacred sites will be gone forever. We can all work together as Australians to be guardians and protect our lands and culture.
This painting represents a timeline of country. The many layers in the work depict: our motherland before colonisation, the change that occurred during colonisation, the present and the future.
No Language No People
Wiray Naiyang Wiray Mayiny means "No Language, No People."
"So many of our Indigenous languages have been lost and this is a sad fact. I know from my own experience that I was not taught my language as my Elders were forbidden to speak it. This denial of language has had a devastating impact on our culture and is why language is important. It must be kept alive through the generations." - Lani Balzan
In my painting, the single black dots in the sky (the white background) depict the 130 plus languages already lost. They remain in the sky with the ancestors, represented by a cluster of black dots forming a 'sun' shape in the top left corner. The singular white dots on the black background are the 120 endangered languages still spoken today.
The circular pattern of red and yellow dots forming a yarning circle, represents all Indigenous peoples coming together and sharing the importance of our language. The wedge-tail eagle (my own totem) flying above the yarning circle and into the sky represents strength and courage over the languages and how important it is to protect them.
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