On Thursday 6 June, 24 Mentors and students from AIEF Queensland partner schools and volunteers from BP, KPMG, CBA, Allens and Trust Company spent the afternoon at GOMA in Brisbane viewing two Indigenous Art exhibitions. The first was a collection of Contemporary Arnhem Land works exploring the age old concepts of Death and Life; the second a more confronting look at Australia through the work of numerous Australian Indigenous artists titled “My Country- I still call Australia Home.’

Mentors and students moved around the gallery in their pairs, catching up on what has been happening in their lives, and using the exhibitions to learn about culture and country. One mentor found the exhibition a great place for an activity as it placed his student in the seat of knowledge sharer: “The session was really great for me as I got Leslie to explain a lot of the art pieces… it was good to see him discuss some items in detail. He obviously knows some of his ancestral history and why they did things a certain way so he really came out of his shell a lot more.”

Many students could identify with some of the artists and the subjects of the works, some being family members: “One video piece was about Palm Island and her Nanna is from there so we had a short discussion about that after watching the whole thing.” Afterwards, the mentors and students were all able to sit at the nearby café for afternoon tea or go for a walk along the Brisbane River and discuss what they had seen, as well as continue conversations about their students studies and plans for the future. The afternoon was a great success and mentor and students are generating exciting ideas for the next group activity later in the year.

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