The Jawun Secondment: Tree change for a worthy cause in Shepparton

Our ongoing support of the Jawun program sees us investing in the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and communities around Australia.

Through our partnership with Jawun, a non-profit organisation that works with Indigenous communities, we offer skills-based secondment opportunities to Indigenous organisations. Our people have been taking part in skills-based secondments with Jawun since 2011.

What is Jawun?

Jawun means 'friend' in the Kuku Yalanji language of Queensland's Mossman Gorge and its logo represents Indigenous markings for a meeting place or camp fire. Together they reflect Jawun's vision of bringing together corporate, government, philanthropic and Indigenous organisations to support the capabilities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the country.

Kaiela Arts

Maria Poulos, Allens' Art Curator, recently undertook a secondment to Kaiela Arts, an Aboriginal art gallery in the town of Shepparton, located on the floodplain of the Goulburn River in northern Victoria. It lies approximately 181 kilometres north-northeast of Melbourne and has around 50,0000 inhabitants.

Maria's secondment brief was to assist Kaiela Arts manage its database and crowd funding campaigns. For six weeks she stepped away from her corporate role in Allens' Sydney office and immersed herself into Country and culture.

'Maria jumped in and helped whenever she could see a need. Her enthusiasm was contagious, and she played an instrumental role in helping lift the profile of Kaiela Arts in the local community and around the country,' said Kaiela Arts Manager, Angie Russi.

Kaiela Arts was established in 2006 and has a rich Indigenous heritage in the Kaiela Dungala (Goulburn Murray) region, providing an important space for artists and the community to connect with art and culture. The gallery represents more than 80 artists and offers support through training and mentoring programs. As a result, some artists have won prestigious awards and have sold their works to private and public collections.

'My secondment with Jawun was one of the most rewarding things I've done. I was presented with the challenge of deploying my skillset, as an art curator, in a completely foreign environment to support a community of talented Indigenous artists.

'Size certainly doesn't matter when it comes to this little gallery as things are booming with many different projects, including a fashion line of garments and accessories.'

Maria continues to be a strong supporter of Kaiela Arts and is committed to shining a light on the talent of its artists. As part of celebrations for 2019 NAIDOC week, Allens will be hosting the fashion exhibition that Maria worked on during her time in Shepparton.

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