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‘Urapun Muy’ wins 2024 NAIDOC Week poster competition

Callan Morse – May 9, 2024

Translating to ‘One Fire’, Deb Belyea work titled ‘Urapun Muy’ has won the 2024 NAIDOC Week poster competition. (Image: NAIDOC)

Deb Belyea’s artwork ‘Urapun Muy’ has won the 2024 NAIDOC Week poster competition.

A proud member of the Samuawgadhalgal Cassowary Clan, Ms Belyea said her design, which translates to to ‘One Fire’ in Kalaw Kawaw Ya, reflects both the 2024 theme and Indigenous cultures.

“When I saw that the NAIDOC theme for this year was Keep the Fire Burning! Blak, Loud and Proud, I wanted to create an art piece that reflected our First Nations cultures,” Ms Belyea said.

Currently living on the lands of the Juru people in Bowen, North Queensland, Ms Belyea is an educator, curriculum writer and practising artist.

“Culture is the fire that burns within all of us. It is essential to us when we talk about our people, identity, and spirituality,” she said.

“Throughout our lives, culture is taught to us by our Elders in our rich heritage languages, which have sprouted from our homelands.

“It shows us our roads to one another and how we belong to our Place or Country. As First Nations mob, it is our lifelong responsibility of learning, teaching and practising culture.”

Ms Belyea’s artwork shows ancestors hands placing an ember into a burning fire. This ember, and the fire, represents the sharing of cultural knowledge from one generation to the next.

The National NAIDOC committee said ‘Urapun Muy’ depicts the rich, multifaceted tapestry, perfectly captured the meaning of this year’s NAIDOC Week theme, ‘Keep the Fire Burning! Blak, Loud and Proud’.

National NAIDOC Committee co-chair Steven Satour labelled her work “exceptional”.

“We saw tremendous talent in this year’s NAIDOC poster competition. We knew the theme would inspire mob and Deb’s work was exceptional,” Mr Satour said.

Ms Belyea’s Samuawgadhalgal heritage traces back to the people of the top Western Torres Strait islands of Saibai, Dauan, and the Bamaga-Saibai community of Cape York.

Reiterating her co-chair’s opinion of Ms Belyea’s work, NAIDOC Committee co-chair, Dr Aunty Lynette Riley said the Committee is very proud to have a Torres Strait Islander artist as the 2024 winner.

“Deb’s artwork is extremely powerful, Ms Riley said. “It features unique cultural elements that tell the story of the Cassowary Clan passing on knowledge.”

The National NAIDOC Committee has once again appointed Kmart and Target as the official national NAIDOC Week poster distribution partner for 2024.

Kmart and Target Chief Executive Officer, John Gualtieri said the businesses were proud to be NAIDOC week partners.

“At Kmart and Target we are on a journey to ensure we not only make our stores a culturally safe place for the almost five percent of our team members across Australia who are Indigenous, but also for our customers,” Mr Gualtieri said.

“Our commitments in this space are important to us as a business, and we are proud to once again be partners of NAIDOC Week, and through our involvement help facilitate the celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, not only just for our team members but for communities right around Australia”.

Posters will begin being distributed across all Kmart, K hub and Target stores next month.

The poster can also be downloaded from the NAIDOC website.