Indigenous artist, Ailsa Walsh — from the Lardil nation from Mornington Island, Queensland, Kullili nation from Thargomindah Queensland and the Yuggera nation from Ipswich Queensland — is the artist behind Wulkuraka Designs who has created the bespoke artwork Meeanjin Welcomes You for the Virtus Oceania Asia Games 2022 that speaks to the vision of a world of inclusion and embraces diversity and culture.
Ms Robyn Smith OAM, CEO of Sport Inclusion Australia and the Oceania Asia Games 2022 Organising Committee said the artwork strongly resonated with the movement behind the Games.
“Ailsa’s inspiring art is an extremely important part of the story of the OA Games 2022. The need to be welcoming, collaborative, respectful and aware of all people and their surrounds, underpins the legacy outcomes of the Games,” Ms Smith said.
Ailsa’s art passionately and emotively expresses the synergy of unifying people from many different cultures with differing abilities, ages and histories coming together to compete in Meeanjin (Brisbane) surrounded by Brisbane’s iconic river (Maiwar).
With many cultural images representing flora, fauna and her ancestors that go back many thousands of years, Ailsa has drawn on the Dream Time to embrace people from different places, backgrounds and experiences in a communal spirit of welcome.
“Through this artwork and the patterns I’ve designed, I want to welcome people to this country and I’ve created a colourful art piece that celebrates different cultures across the world coming here to Meeanjin,” Ailsa said.
“What I hope people take away from my art when they’re viewing it is a sense of calmness. I want viewers to see the art piece and connect with the colour, feel the patterns and feel welcomed here.”
Creating this art piece was also of personal importance for Ailsa and one that connected her to the journey that is bringing athletes together for the Games.
“I found my filter through my art and Aboriginal culture – when I struggled with challenges of expressing things through words, I communicated in another way through my art and through it I found more confidence,” explains Ailsa.
Ailsa likes to add elements of the earth to her artwork. She smoked the canvas with eucalyptus leaves before painting it and has used ochre from this country in her acrylic painting. After her creation was complete, she smoked it again to pass the artwork on to the Games to generate its own story for the future.
Ailsa hopes that her art not only welcomes all, but empowers and inspires athletes, teams, spectators and staff at the Virtus Oceania Asia Games 2022 to share the spirit of Australia’s culture and country, and to take this back home with them.