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Caring for others, embracing those in need and walking by their side is central to the artwork created by Adelaide Hills artist Karen Briggs as part of AnglicareSA’s journey to reconciliation.

This week, to mark NAIDOC Week, AnglicareSA is officially launching Karen’s vibrant design – called Our Story – which will be used throughout AnglicareSA and Believe Housing Australia’s new Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) currently being finalised.

A proud Yorta Yorta woman, Karen says her inspiration for Our Story was drawn from her own experience, and that of her mother’s, in working with social services agencies like Anglicare.

“I feel a part of Anglicare through my mum, who worked in aged care,” Karen says. “But also, through the work that I’ve done over the years. I see it as a caring organisation and very supportive of communities, especially First Nations people.”

Karen was first commissioned by AnglicareSA in 2012 to create artwork for our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), and then again for the second RAP in 2016. She has now finalised her digital design for our latest RAP.

“It was a big brief symbolically trying to bring in my culture to explain the energy and spirit of what reconciliation is across all levels of AnglicareSA,” Karen says.

“I also wanted to add in that feeling of caring and placing the customer and the community at the heart of everything, which is represented by the two dotted lines walking side by side around elements of the design.”

Then there are the swirls of wind flowing through the organisation that is symbolic of the spirit of reconciliation.”

Our Story is an important part of celebrating AnglicareSA’s connection with First Nations people, culture and traditions in the spirit of NAIDOC celebrations being held across the state and nation. Part of the messaging this year is to keep fighting for change under the theme Get up! Stand up! Show up!

Karen, who also designed the logo for the South Australian NAIDOC Committee, says she is humbled to again be asked to contribute to AnglicareSA’s pathway to building an inclusive workplace.

“It is very good that AnglicareSA is part of NAIDOC Week and reconciliation more broadly,” Karen says. “It’s about having that voice for us now and the Reconciliation Action Plan that is being written is a good step forward and a sign that the spirit of change is here.

“NAIDOC Week is really important to me personally, it’s a celebration of our achievements, of First Nations people’s achievements, and it’s also just a good get-together of the mob.”

A member of the Premier’s Council for Women, Karen is a descendant of the Yorta Yorta people whose ancestral homeland radiates from the junction of the Murray and Goulburn and rivers in northeast Victoria.

She is a designer and children’s book illustrator whose inspiration stems from her love of animals and nature, and memories of holidays with her grandmother on the Cummeragunja Mission located near the River Murray in the Barmah State Forest.

Kick with My Left Foot (written by Paul Seden) was her first picture book and was shortlisted for the Crichton Award for New Illustrator in 2015. Her other books include The Rabbit-Hole Golf Course (written by Ella Mulvey) and Tell’ em! Which was written by Katrina Germein and Rosemary Sullivan with the children of Manyallaluk School in the Northern Territory.

Our Story – as explained by the artist