Artist Jenna Oldaker on the meaning behind Gobata Kinkinbil (Take Care of People)

Jenna Oldaker Fri, 2 Jun 2023

Jenna outlines the symbolism and meaning of her beautiful artwork for Philanthropy Australia’s Reflect RAP, which will be launched in the coming weeks. 

This artwork is a celebration of community and connection, as we all come together as one. Our ancestors and Elders travelled these same lands sharing their culture, sharing their stories and ideas, and it is now our responsibility to take care of and nurture our Country home.  

The top right-hand corner of the artwork illustrates our beautiful sun rising high in the sky, providing the land and its people with a vital source of life. The sun is connected all the other elements of the artwork, illustrating how we all rely on the sun for warmth, healing and light. The pink, golden sun rising high above the land holds the spirits, knowledge and stories of our past and present Elders, while below is our homeland. The colours depict the ochre that comes from our land Country.  

Running through the centre of the artwork is the blue of our water Country, including our coastal Country, rivers and wetlands. The flowing water is also symbolic of our journey together as we all travel on Country as one in unity.  

In the top left-hand corner of the artwork is the symbol for meeting place, a place where we can all gather together to yarn and share stories. Within the centre of the meeting place is the symbol for people/person, recognising the significance of all the people within our community, and those who have shaped who we are. The central meeting place is connected to all other elements through journey lines – symbolising our connection to not only one another, but also our land Country, the community, our culture and our heritage. 

The traditional ‘∩’ shapes represent people on Wadawurrung Country, as they move around the tracks weaving back and forth across the land sharing their stories, history and culture. The eucalyptus leaves symbolise our land Country and all our beautiful native Australian fauna.  

Surrounding the eucalyptus leaves, is the symbol for ‘stars’, a representation of our Elders and their spirits surrounding us, providing guidance, wisdom and strength.  

Near the centre of the artwork is the symbol for meeting place/yarn circle representing our community coming together as one in unity. The connected journey lines are also symbolic of our cultural, spiritual and community continuity – how we must continue to look after one another and our land, in order for the land and community to continue to provide and care for us.  

As we have cared for this land for thousands of years, the Country has reciprocated and cared for us providing healthy and nourished land and water, allowing us to create new life and spirit.  

Nyatne (Thank You)