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Spotlight on Aboriginal artist and CWH Resident Maddison Gibbs

29 September 2021

Maddison Gibbs is a proud Barkindji woman who is a multidisciplinary contemporary artist. The City West Housing resident’s artwork plays a starring role in the organisation’s first Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

Maddison shares what it means to her to have her artwork – The Midden design, featured in the RAP.

“I am excited and proud to be a featured artist for City West Housing who is celebrating and bringing Aboriginal culture to the forefront, where it should be,” said Maddison.

“The Midden design represents sites around Darling Harbour. Middens piles made from shells, bones and ash from cooking. I have referenced these sites as they link to all nations and clans and they are/were markers and evidence of the oldest living culture in the world.

“Ultimately my work is a celebration of the oldest farming estate in the world and celebrating the dual histories with an Aboriginal focus. It is a celebration of the oldest, intricate, sophisticated and connected society in the world.”

Madison is part of the Aboriginal population at City West Housing which makes up 10 per cent of the resident community. Her featured artwork is a powerful way to demonstrate the focus of the organisation’s Reflect RAP. The main aim is to better understand the people that CWH serves and how to be genuinely inclusive in the interactions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their communities.

Maddison’s creative skills range from digital animation, drawing, ceramics, printmaking, murals and painting. Her artwork called ‘Heal Country’ is a public space mural at one of CWH’s buildings. The mural was commissioned as part of the Build Your Neighbourhood program, see a video about the artwork below.

“The community at City West is so diverse, I wanted to celebrate that with the mural, to bring joy and life to the building.”

The artist was happy to share her artwork as a way of giving back to the CWH community where she resides. Before moving into CWH she was facing completing a Bachelor of Design in Animation, at the University of Technology with nowhere to live, after leaving student accommodation.

“Living at City West made a huge difference to me. It was a huge relief and helped me to not be stressing and focus on finishing my studies. It boosted my career and allowed me to set up my own business, in the inner city.”

Some of the artist’s upcoming commissions include a mural about the six seasons of Aboriginal culture for Burwood Council, her first large scale sculpture for Meadowbank TAFE and a reconciliation digital artwork for the Department of Social Services with the theme ‘always was, always will be’.

“Eventually I’d like to have my own apartment and give someone else have that experience at City West so they can focus on what they need, such as their career and their family. It’s been so important to me for the last two years.

“Thanks to City West Housing for giving me a place I feel proud of and joy to live in.”

Find out more about City West Housing’s Reconciliation Action Plan and you can download a PDF of the RAP here.

View CWH’s RAP
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