Bidyadanga artists commissioned for Swim and Survive artwork

6 July 2021
As we celebrate this year’s NAIDOC Week theme of ‘Heal Country’, we’re excited to showcase some original artwork created by artists in the remote Aboriginal community of Bidyadanga, in WA’s Kimberley region.

The artwork was created as part of a special project for Royal Life Saving WA’s Swim and Survive program. Royal Life Saving WA's Bernie Egan, pool manager at the Bidyadanga Remote Community Pool, helped to facilitate the project together with Bidyadanga Aboriginal Community La Grange Inc (BACLG) and the Kullarri Regional Communities Indigenous Corporation (KRCIC).

“As part of Royal Life Saving’s commitment to inclusive swimming and water safety education, an art project with the BACLG Women’s Centre and the local Bidyadanga Artists was created to produce some artwork that Royal Life Saving could use for future Swim and Survive certificates,” said Bernie.

Bidyadanga artist at work“The artists at the Women’s Centre were excited at the opportunity to represent the community and produce some art for the project,” Bernie said. “Ingrid Elmitt, Community Programs Officer at the KRCIC and Women’s Centre coordinator, would like to thank Royal Life Saving for the opportunity to participate in the project.”

“With the community still closed to outside visitors due to COVID, the Bidyadanga Artists have had limited opportunity to get their art out into the wider market. To have the opportunity to collaborate with an organisation such as Royal Life Saving gives the artists a new market to create for.”

The criteria outlined for the artists working on the project included community, environment, and water safety. The artists worked on their pieces over the course of three months, with the finished works presented to Bernie at a special morning tea at the Women’s Centre on 12th May.

Eight pieces in total were presented at the morning tea and have since made their way to head office in Perth. Royal Life Saving WA Senior Manager Education Trent Hotchkin said, “Royal Life Saving WA was so impressed with the work created for the Swim and Survive Art Project that we decided to purchase all eight pieces.”

Bernie said the news was well received by the artists, who enjoyed participating in the project and were excited to see how the works will be used. “The ladies at the Women’s Centre look forward to seeing how their art is going to be used to promote water safety, and to see local art on the future swim certificates that their children will earn for participating in Swim and Survive lessons.”