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Danjoo Koorliny Summit Artwork 2021

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

During the two-day summit, artists created paintings, visual scribing, poetic mirroring and more. Here is a collection of artwork from the summit, and some of the explanations given by artists on the day. Please don't share these artworks outside of this context. At the end of this article you will find an explanation of visual scribing.

“This one [first from top/left above] was mainly about the Welcome to Country and the smoking ceremony we had yesterday morning -that was really powerful for me. And even though we had so many of us, we were just on one plane, we were just on the land. And I feel like the sky was also full with all of our spirits and our ancestors… the ancestors of all of us would have just - the place was completely full, it was like 'over capacity'. I really wanted to capture that in this artwork so we have the spirits, or the wirin, and the ancestors in the sky, and then all of us vibrating all the energy from them. And the stars, and the smoke...kind of as the passage between us and our ancestors" (Jade Dolman). “So, this one [middle above] talks about spirituality and science…Speaking to a few people about these artworks [at the summit], they always point out different things as well, and different interpretations of the art...I was speaking to [somebody] yesterday and she pointed out that spirituality and science are the same thing - it's just different languages. And I notice the background is the same. There's a lot of similarities through here, but there's different ways of seeing it…the lines are created in different styles, but they still meet together in the centre and just figuring out how to work those two systems together" (Jade Dolman).

“This one [last one above] that I've done today was based on Pop Richard's [Dr Richard Walley] speech this morning, which really moved me. I found it really gain deep knowledge, we can't take shortcuts. So the yellow, all these little straight lines, they don't get any bigger, the start and the end is the same. Whereas if we do take the long journey, and we learn the way we are supposed to by listening and going slow, not being rushed, or impatient, then we become a lot stronger, and a lot bigger, and then we can contribute a lot more back to society…The yellow that borders that represents all the small milestones and achievements that we make on our own, in our own lives, and in our own workplaces and organisations, and how we connect that into the bigger picture" (Jade Dolman).

“This one [above] was based on talking about systems and people. Rather than creating the people around the system, [I’m using] people as the centre and then creating [the] system around that, so that it works…The centre is the meeting place with all the people, and then creating a system that perfectly fits to those people, and then how that ripples off" (Jade Dolman).

“This [above] is day one [of the summit]...what I heard was, the six steps to getting to the walking together process. And I've got all the people…the non-Aboriginal [and] Aboriginal coming together and walking together and then doing this with each other, like come on, let’s go, join this with us...And then in [the] top [right] corner here, there’s a lot about the systems that we have in our culture, and how it's all connected spiritually...I've got ‘destroy everything’ and ‘care for everything’ with the question mark. What do we want to do? Where do we want to sit?’ [There is] less vegetation, in the sense of what the destroying is…The blue parts…that's like continuously watering what we start here. I do have a little bit of pink here, in the ‘reflect’ stage...that stood out to me a lot in this summit this year. I just really wanted to highlight that as a really important part of the process. Because I think sometimes…we can feel rushed. And when we make decisions based on that rushed feeling, it actually leads us into deciding things that are not good for us. I've got the same story here and here, just with the growing...We can't forget it, we have to keep remembering why we’re growing. Last thing on here is, at the top…‘answers are not found in leaders, answers are found in the collective’. So making sure that we’re coming back together in the collective and making decisions from that space" (Danielle Thurlow).

"'What keeps us strong’ stood out as a really big thing [from day two of the summit]... And the children there with our leaders, and our Elders...learn all these things."

"I've got people on the outside, so that's representing that people are catching on, and they’re drawing themselves into this. I’ve got different colours - you'll see that these ones aren’t coloured in but the ones on the outside there mixing with the colours - so white fellas you are finding yourself, you are finding us in you, and we are finding you in us - is what that's representing. We’re connecting with our hearts."

"And I've got the three steps that Otto [Dr Otto Scharmer] said. One - participate. Two - make the system see and sense itself. Three – sense the emerging future to lead systems change. Science, politics and business have to be part of that.

"Sit on Country to absorb and connect. And that's where our growth will come. There is a part here [where] it’s dark…I tried to symbolise that as the fence blocking us out…We're working through this connection to push that down. And that’s what keeps us strong" (Danielle Thurlow).

"So this [above] is pretty much leading on from yesterday's yarn and going on today's yarn. So, you know, looking at the same sort of thing. So you know, we’ve got our six seasons in the middle, we have our sun, as well as our water and earth all in the middle. Our language, our law, culture, our country, everything is in the middle. And everything surrounds that, so we have our skins, and you know for a lot of the people that don't know especially where I come from [the Pilbara] we have 4 skin groups, and these represent the skin groups and how these two here could marry up, these two here can marry up, and these ones here their babies going to that side. So that's our skin group - it's all interconnected in its way. But this here is where all the, you know, mob that aren’t Indigenous come in. Because, essentially, yes, this might be the way that we connect, but this is how the world works...If you come and look at it from the outside it's us all interconnecting. So, you know, why survive when we can thrive. And change comes from acceptance. These are the two worlds coming together, and sharing knowledge, true speaking and acceptance" (Sharleah Ramirez).

“I like to capture circles [above] as who we are as people. So, this being our soul and every circle around being our experiences that make us and build us to be who we are. This is like the sacred energy that we hold within us, and it's protected. And I’ve got circular learning, honouring and nurturing every aspect of growth and learning. Connecting ‘liyan’, which in my culture, liyan is our heart, our soul, our being. Seeing the beauty in everyone, and the individual journeys. Hearing with our hearts, leading with our liyan and honouring it. Growing together by nurturing each other and every one of our relationships. Hearing, holding and healing each other in a safe space. And these are also our ancestors. They continue to guide us…all along our life" (Savannah Travia-Dann).

“This piece [above] was created over the two days of the summit. I think something really important to remember is that whatever you see here, if I’ve done my job right, is a reflection of you, or of us, of this room. So if you see beauty that’s also your beauty. If you see something that troubles you, that's something that’s troubling us collectively. This is a collectively-owned, communally-held piece…Everything on here is something that’s been said in the room or something that’s been shared" (Shenali Perera).


Visual scribing and art have been part of the documentation process of Danjoo Koorliny Walking Together since the inaugural festival in 2019. The Western practice of scribing was introduced to Danjoo Koorliny by artist Kelvy Bird (based in the land of the Massachusetts people in Boston, USA), and involves visually representing ideas while people talk. Scribes listen and draw simultaneously, creating large pictures that reflect back to the room key concepts, words and themes, as well as the emotional and energetic quality of the room.

In keeping with the principle of walking together, Danjoo Koorliny will often have several artists/ scribes working together to capture the same conversation through different styles and cultural perspectives. Featured here are multiple artworks from this year’s Danjoo Koorliny Walking Together Social Impact Summit. As you view each piece, it is important to remember that the ideas expressed in the artwork belong to the collective and, as such, cannot be shared without the context of Danjoo Koorliny and the time and place in which they were created.

If you wish to share photographs of the scribing and artwork, please always mention the artist’s name, the context in which the work was created, and the story of each piece. Please also include #DanjooKoorliny SOCIAL POETICS

John Stubley was also asked to create a poetic mirroring / poetic resonance of the two-day summit. This process involves listening out for key, resonant language used throughout an event, making a note of these words and phrases, and then arranging them chronologically into a poetic form before sharing this back to the room at the end of an event. John created this process in 2018, and has been developing it since then as part of a range of other methods and tools involving metaphor and poetics in systems change. The application of these methods and tools John calls Social Poetics or Social Poetry.

Click here to read the poetic mirroring / poetic resonance from the summit. Please don’t share outside of the context of the event.

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