Artworks to help the healing journey

A journey of healing, the calm of sunset and the feeling of being home by the ocean have all been conveyed in a new series of artworks at the Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre.

The five pieces by Wiradjuri artist, Teisha Toi, are aimed at making the centre a more welcoming environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The project has been overseen by Albury Wodonga Health following a $10,250 grant from the Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre Trust Fund.

Mrs Toi said clinical spaces can be overwhelming for Indigenous people impacted by past traumas.

She hoped the project would help create trust so that people would get the help they needed.

“The healing journey takes you everywhere,” Mrs Toi said.

“The work shares the love and strength that I possess so people who come through the centre can absorb that and take that home with them.”

The project held special meaning for Mrs Toi, who said every generation of her family had been touched by cancer.

“There’s a space in my heart that’s a sensitive area to it,” she said.

“I just wanted to express my journey and my connection with that through paint, and to produce artworks that can help with the healing journey and offer a bit of hope for people that come to the cancer centre when their lives have been turned upside down by cancer.”

Albury Wodonga Health Cancer Services Operations Manager, Diane Davey, said in Victoria, Indigenous people were twice as likely to be diagnosed with cancer than non-Indigenous people.

“Aboriginal Victorians are more likely to die from cancer than non-Aboriginal Victorians,” she said.

“Improving these outcomes is a priority in Victoria, in NSW and across the country.”

The artworks were the initiative of former AWH Aboriginal Cancer Services Project Officer Megan Clayton.

Trust Fund Manager, Tom O’Connor, said the organisation was proud to play a part in helping to create a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

“It’s important that we create a welcoming environment for all patients of the cancer centre,” he said.

“With the support of our local community, we have been able to fund these wonderful artworks which will help our First Nations people feel comfortable with accessing the services provided.”

The artworks were unveiled at a special ceremony in December, which included a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony led by Wiradjuri elder and Albury cultural educator, Darren Wighton