Twenty-five year old Evangeline is a proud young Ramingining woman from the small town of Beswick (Wugularr) in the Northern Territory who, with the support of Caritas Australia, is helping to preserve the art and culture of Aboriginal communities and provide greater meaning for herself and other young local people.
As senior Artsworker at the Djilpin Arts Ghunmarn Culture Centre, Evangeline is responsible for collecting and maintaining traditional artworks, as part of the centre’s wider aim of preserving cultural knowledge through the mediums of art, storytelling, dance and song.
The centre is a community-owned venture supported by Caritas Australia’s Development of Cultural Enterprise program. It brings together Elders and young people to ensure that cultural practices and knowledge are not lost and runs enterprises such as the exhibiting and selling of local artwork.
For Evangeline, the job has provided a positive turning point in her life after she felt uncertainty about her future upon leaving school.
Like many remote First Australian communities, Beswick faces a range of complex ongoing challenges. Many people in the town feel disempowered by poorly conceived policies and decisions. A lack of access to services and general feelings of helplessness, rejection and loss also mean that a lot of families struggle with financial hardship.
“Not enough jobs, housing is still too crowded, alcohol problems and health problems,” Evangeline explains.
In the community of just 450 people, education is accessible but finishing school doesn’t always feel possible….