All Our Waterways by Jilalga Murray

This Contemporary Aboriginal artwork was created for Royal Lifesaving WA to help with their ongoing journey of ’Reconciliation’. It is a creative celebration, to remind everyone that their work around water safety is very important to the lives of all West Australians and visitors to our wonderful state.

My artwork sends a message, that “we must all be respectful of where we live, work and play”. It features important contemporary symbols which I’ve created for everyone to feel part of this all-encompassing WA story.

Firstly, the bold organic symbols joined at the base of the work represent important women’s and men’s cultural sites which are in close proximity to the RLSSWA headquarters in Crawley, on Whadjuk Boodjar. The area for women’s business is on the left, while the men’s site features on the right. Customs, and laws were practiced here on healthy fertile lands over many thousands of years, the Whadjuk people were able to live and prosper. Fresh water flowed, and people travelled all around this special area, enjoying a bountiful life where everyone was healthy and happy. I pay my respects to the First Nation people of this area.

Central to the artwork, you see Derbal Yerrigan (The Swan River) winding it’s way across the land lifting everyone’s spirits. This represents fresh flowing water being accessible to everyone, I also feel everyone can gain from the act of Reconciliation. Yes, the journey can seem up and down at times, but it’s important to keep flowing, goodness will then be felt by all.

Rivers, waterholes, dams and swimming pools bring people together. Across the artwork I show a variety of body shapes, skin shades, people of different ages, with varying swimming capabilities, all enjoying water. It’s a beautiful happy image which captures good energy and one that respectfully celebrates our diversity. Yes, everyone can truly enjoy ‘All Our Waterways’.


About Jilalga 

Jilalga Murray of JILALGA DESIGNS is a proud urban Nyangumarta and Yorta Yorta woman who’s lived on Whadjuk Boodjar for over ten years. Her mother’s family originates from the Pilbara, and are Nyangumarta people. Her father’s family is from the Riverina region in NSW and Victoria (Yorta Yorta/Wamba Wamba). Both connections give her the gift of creating striking and diverse paintings, where vibrant colours merge with her deep respect for Country and give her individual expression as an urban Aboriginal woman living a modern Australian life.