|18 Jul 2022|
“This year’s NAIDOC Week theme is particularly special and speaks to me as an advocate for children and young people in our community. It is a reminder to show up and make every effort to stand up and speak up to make positive change, even when difficult,” said Lua Pellegrini, on the personal importance of NAIDOC Week celebrations.
Lua is the talented young Indigenous artist behind the 2022 Sydney Swans Marn Grook guernsey, titled Duguwaybul Yindyamangidyal. The guernsey was proudly worn by players during the recent Sir Doug Nicholls Round. At its core, the design represents connectedness and tells the story of the nineteen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players who have represented the Sydney Swans team.
The Sydney Swans 2022 Marn Grook Guernsey with artwork by Lua Pellegrini. Image: Phil Hillyard
Drawing inspiration from her proud Indigenous heritage, Lua’s Sydney Swans Marn Grook guernsey design is a testament to her passion for Aboriginal languages and the importance of storytelling in Indigenous culture.
“I am a proud descendant of the Wiradjuri nation in NSW. My Wiradjuri ancestors were the first inhabitants of the Forbes district over 40,000 years ago. The Wiradjuri people are people of mountains, rivers, and plains whose heritage is rich and ancient,” said Lua.
Lua's grandmother and great-grandmother were both part of the stolen generations, fuelling her passion for the preservation and protection of Aboriginal Dreamings, histories and experiences as she aims to ensure our past can continue to be appreciated into the future.
This rich culture formed the inspiration for Lua’s incredible HSC Major work Our Past, Her Future. The artwork explores the intimate relationship between herself, Wiradjuri culture and her niece, who is by kinship obligations, considered her daughter. Our Past, Her Future was showcased as part of Lua’s first art exhibition, Our Past, Our Future, shown at NSW Parliament House from Nov 2020- Feb 2021 and featured on the cover of the 2020 Catholic Schools Guide.
She also embodies the inherent importance of education in helping to heal Indigenous communities and provide a prosperous future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.
“Education is the most powerful tool. It has allowed me to unlock so many opportunities and changed my potential. If every Indigenous person had the opportunities I had, it could change the world,” continued Lua.
Lua largely credits Loreto Normanhurst’s holistic approach to learning and student care as the catalyst for her incredible post-school achievements. Acknowledging the school’s supportive network, which includes academic, careers, and Indigenous support staff, who encouraged Lua to pursue her interests and find success in her areas of passion, including art and advocating for Australia’s Indigenous youth.
When she graduated from Loreto Normanhurst in 2019, Lua became the first in her family to complete Year 12. She was recognised for her outstanding results and as the state’s highest-achieving Aboriginal student in Aboriginal Studies. Now a GO Foundation Scholar and Chairperson of the NSW Youth Advisory Council, Lua continues tertiary study in Fine Arts at the University of New South Wales.
Lua Pellegrini receiving her NESA Award as the highest-achieving Aboriginal student in Aboriginal Studies in 2019. Image: AECG Reflecting on her education and time at Loreto Normanhurst, Lua continued:
“Having Aboriginal students graduate Year 12 and continue into tertiary education is imperative. I was the first person in my family to do so and the significance of this goes beyond my individual self. As it is said, when an Aboriginal person is educated, they not only heal 10 generations back but also save 10 generations going forward.”
Loreto Normanhurst’s profound commitment to Indigenous education is formalised within the school’s comprehensive Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). Launched in 2018, the RAP framework facilitates the ongoing development of relationships, respect, and opportunities in and outside of the classroom. A core element of the framework is the dedicated Loreto Normanhurst Indigenous Program supporting access to a Loreto education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from across Australia.
The Loreto Normanhurst Indigenous Program seeks to nurture students’ cultural knowledge, support independence and confidence in academic study and work in collaboration with Indigenous communities to ensure students remain connected in a relevant and respectful way.
Importantly, Loreto Normanhurst’s robust curriculum provides all students with an understanding of Indigenous cultures, histories and communities through experiences, education, and relationships. This includes the two-week Far North Queensland experience for Year 9 students, where girls interact and learn from Australian Indigenous communities, and the Year 10 Homelands immersion.
Introduced in 2021, the compulsory Homelands immersion is highly unique in that it sees Year 10 students invited by traditional owners to the remote homelands of Cape York and Central Australia to Arnhem Land. It is here all students are given the opportunity to deepen their understanding of Australia’s First Nations Peoples culture and spirituality first-hand.
These experiences assist in making sense of and humanising key Indigenous national issues, bringing to the foreground a focus on The Apology to the Stolen Generation, the National Close the Gap Campaign, Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week and all that these mean in the deep sense of justice for Australia’s First Nations Peoples.
“Loreto Normanhurst is a community of rich diversity. Our Indigenous Program strengthens and embraces this diversity so that our students grow in empathy for others, build dialogue by sharing perspectives and stories, and are prepared to contribute to a future Australia. Lua is a guiding example of our school’s strategic mission to shape women for our times,” said Marina Ugonotti, Principal of Loreto Normanhurst.
Lua will proudly return to Loreto Normanhurst to join the school’s NAIDOC celebrations and share her journey with students on Wednesday, 20 July 2022.
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