Cultures of Blacktown dialysis welcome painting

Detail from Cultures of Blacktown by Peter Williams 

If you visit the new regional dialysis centre at Blacktown Hospital, don't be surprised to see emu, kangaroo, whales and tutles. 

Cultures of Blacktown is a beautiful work by artist Peter Williams which graces the foyer of the new Regional Dialysis Centre.  About 20% of patients at the Regional Dialysis Centre are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander – by far the largest community group represented in the centre.

This work was chosen for the main foyer of the centre because its universal themes of welcome, belonging and many cultures coming together resonated so strongly with patients, carers and staff. It also represents a welcome from Aboriginal people to all who come to the centre and it recognises the importance of Aboriginal culture both in the community and in the hospital.

Peter Williams comes from Garul Gigula Clan of the Ngemba Tribe, originating in the region of Brewarrina in North West NSW. His indigenous language is Wongaibon, with his tribal totem being the Goanna. He is the head dancer and song man at Waradah Aboriginal Centre. 

Peter’s vast array of knowledge ranges from his skill with spear and boomerang through to art, music, bush tucker and traditional medicines. He is well-versed in the lore of his people, being an accomplished traditional storyteller. Peter uses his knowledge to guide the younger generation of his people.

Artist statement:

At the top of the painting is our star system. The stars represent our spiritual connections to God and dreamtime Ceremonies as we do our ceremonies in accordance with the constellations.

The constellation includes Orion and the Southern Cross, to our people Orion symbolises God and the Southern Cross represents the Emu Dreaming. 

Where the green meets the sky is the wedge-tailed eagle, the eagle represents God’s journey. The shape of the eagle also represents the Blue Mountains, which connect to the Nepean River.

The Rainbow Serpent represents the Nepean River and had also helped create the lands. The hand stencils in the background represents our people past andpresent, the green lines represents the contours of the landscape.

The four land animals represents the family groups, the different patterns in the animals represents the different countries. 
“The hatching in the kangaroo is Arnhem Land & Northern Queensland, the dots in the emu are from central Australia, and sections in the goanna are from the East Coast NSW and the echidna represents food sources.
Where the land meets the sea is in the shape of the sea eagle, which represents the coastal people. The white dots represent the beach areas and also the Ancestors before us.
“The blue line in the background represents the currents of life, the three half circles in the blue represents the water, our main source of wellbeing.
The sea animals are totems of the sea people and also a food source. The blue dots that go around the animals represent the eastern currents which connect us to the South our community, with marriages between our people.

By Peter Williams