Air Force Headquarters (AFHQ) is displaying a physical and symbolic commitment to reconciliation in the form of a painting for National Reconciliation Week.
Titled Ngunnawal Mulleyah, which translates as Ngunnawal Wedge-tailed Eagle, Shaenice Allan presented her artwork to Chief of Staff Air Force Air Commodore David Hombsch.
Ms Allan said it embodied how Ngunnawal land was interwoven in AFHQ’s story.
"As with most stories, I found I had to include not just the Air Force, but others as well," Ms Allan said.
"The main dots represent the people in Air Force and small dots are everybody else who are quite involved, and as part of the story I’ve included the seven Ngunnawal clans as the circles."
Ngunnawal Mulleyah was commissioned by AFHQ to serve as an ongoing acknowledgement of the traditional custodians of the land on which AFHQ stands.
"The common symbology is fantastic," Air Commodore Hombsch said.
"The Wedge-tailed eagle is very important to the Ngunnawal people and for us – it’s on so many of our badges and crests and worn on our uniforms every day.
"Normally we like to do something ceremonial for the week; we couldn’t with restrictions on coming together in large groups but still wanted to look after the Ngunnawal Elders."
Working in two stages, it took Ms Allan a couple of days to include Air Force in story.
"I’m so excited for Air Force – I think that’s so important to understand the art because how we use our symbols is how we explain a story," she said.
As an acknowledgement of Country where the headquarters is located and the importance of the Wedge-tailed eagle to both cultures, the painting will be displayed in AFHQ.
Indigenous Liaison Officer Flight Lieutenant Grace Casey-Maughan wanted to make these connections known.
"It’s significant also because I’m fairly sure there’s no Ngunnawal art in Air Force Headquarters and it's so important to ground us to where we are," Flight Lieutenant Casey-Maughan said.
It is hoped that displaying the painting will encourage AFHQ members to ground themselves to the land on which we live and work and to serve as a link to the traditional owners of the area.
The artwork will physically display an ongoing commitment to increasing Air Force’s cultural awareness and understanding as dedicated in the ‘Our Place, Our Skies’ Air Force Indigenous strategy.
"I’m proud of our momentum with ‘Our Place, Our Skies’ and our commitment to reconciliation," Air Commodore Hombsch said.
"There’s still a lot to do but I think we’re showing real progress in the five vectors of cultural guidance, community engagement, recruiting, retention and cultural awareness."