Artwork connecting creatives

By Ashlea Witoslawski

From paintbrush to pen, artists from the Goulburn Valley have come together to create this year’s Ruqayyah Ibourki Ekphrasis Poetry Competition.

The Goulburn Valley Writers Group established the award after being approached by Abdul Ibourki.

Inspired by idea of using art as a tool for closing the gap, Mr Ibourki sponsored the event and asked for the writing to be inspired by an indigenous art piece.

When the GV Writers Group took on the project, they decided to contact aboriginal art centre Kaiela Arts to find a piece they believed could work for the competition.

GV Writers Group president Robyn Black said Kaiela Arts was the perfect place to find indigenous art from the region.

‘‘The gallery is so important for our community and we need to appreciate the artist’s endeavours,’’ Ms Black said.

The gallery contacted Yorta Yorta man Troy Firebrace and he jumped at the opportunity, creating Connecting Waters.

Already ‘‘20 per cent’’ of the way through a commission piece for Shepparton law firm Slater and King Lawyers, Mr Firebrace was fortunate to first showcase the piece for the competition.

‘‘No-one knew what it was going to look like when I was first asked,’’ he said.

For Mr Firebrace, the piece embodies ‘‘waters of the land all connected together, all related, all following the same path’’.

‘‘Even though the rivers, creeks and waterholes have their own story and their own character they share the same journey, bear the same responsibility,’’ he said.

‘‘This is the same for us as humans, as people.’’

Connecting Waters will be on display until the end of this month, giving poets the opportunity to see the work up close. Entries close on Sunday, September 30 and winning poems will be announced on Tuesday, October 30.

To see a high resolution image of the artwork and for conditions of entry, visit