Loreto Sister Susan Daily ibvm has a long history working alongside the community in Nauiyu, Northern Territory. Below, Sr Susan reflects on her experiences working with the local community to connect to the arts, and her most recent trip to Nauiyu this past October.
Every so often you are invited to go to a place that leaves you with the extraordinary feeling of “I am standing on sacred ground”. I was privileged to have such an experience recently at Merrepen Arts in Nauiyu on the Daly River, Northern Territory, where I worked with the local community teaching silk painting.
It had been some time since I was in Nauiyu, however the welcome I received was incredibly overwhelming – a true reflection of the many special moments shared together over my years visiting the area.
My history in Naiyu extends more than 30 years. My first visit remains prominent – we made banners of the native animals for the local church. Since then, despite floods and numerous other unpredicted situations these banners still grace the church today.
My most recent trip in October this year, was to help in the creation of new silks and in less than a week we created 110 silk scarves. When starting out in silk painting, it is not uncommon that the first few will turn out not as the artist intended. On this occasion I was elated to see every single scarf demonstrated the techniques I had formerly taught and were each, in their own unique way, just beautiful. Similar to my first trip animals were the stars of the designs and, in a beautiful twist, some were created by those who were children at the time the very first church banners were created over three decades ago.
It is both a moving and rewarding experience working alongside the community in Naiyu. The simple words from those who have faced daily adversity “I have had a really happy week thank you” and those who are sincerely grateful “we are good at this because you have taught us so well” demonstratehow appreciative I am for all that the Indigenous community have taught me about life.
Author: Sister Susan Daily ibvm
View image gallery below