Happy women Cairns-bound for arts festival
'SMILE and the world smiles with you', is the premise behind the Our Happy Women (OHW) group and it this attitude that will get them to Cairns.
It was at the Cairns Indigenous Arts Festival (CIAF) Aboriginal community development facilitator, Aunty Mim Bolt, was inspired to start a group back here in the Northern Rivers to enable indigenous women to "empower each other to reach their full potential”.
This empowered group of "sisters” of Ngalingah's Mijung Dubais (OHW) have now begun a local fund-raising campaign to raise $10 000 to support 10 local Aboriginal women and two facilitators to attend the arts and crafts festival.
"I attended the festival in 2017 as part of my professional development training, and the impact on me as an Aboriginal woman ...was profound,” said Aunty Mim.
"The experience was the inspiration to recreate a small part of the festival here ...which resulted in the successful Freedom Fashion Show at the recent Lismore Women's Festival.”
The funds raised will enable the group to be immersed in the world of Indigenous Arts and Crafts and exchange ideas with female artists from Far North Coast Queensland and the Torres Strait. The plan is to: support local arts practice as well as increase confidence, skills and knowledge of successful business models currently working in Aboriginal and mainstream communities.
The OHW group have been meeting each week at the YWCA in Goonellabah. The YWCA, along with North Coast TAFE, allow artist, Anne Leon, to engage the women in textile work (screen-printing, plant-dyeing, sewing and drawing) to create garments and fabric.
A collection of these works will again be showcased in NAIDOC Week, in collaboration with NORPA and the Elders Council.
YWCA Regional Manager, Louise Collins said the group was about having support in the local community to make "goals achievable”.
Aunty Mim says the conference will teach the women to refine their ideas, skills and dreams and continue to collaborate with arts, education and social enterprise ventures to establish a platform for promoting and selling their work.
"This will provide an economic opportunity to create income for all the women and their families. To donate to the group contact Aunty Mim Bolt at firstname.lastname@example.org.