What Matters to Me – Tarnanthi Festival 2023

First Nation’s children from across the state present paintings and messages celebrating their creativity, their ideas, their voice.

Our Arts in Health Program is proud to exhibit What Matters to Me as part of Tarnanthi – a platform for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from across the country to share important stories.

Gallery Location
Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Blue Heart Gallery, Ground Floor, Zone A, Kermode Street, North Adelaide SA 5006.

Dates and Opening Hours
16 Oct 2023 – 31 Jan 2024
9am – 5pm daily

What Matters to Me is an exhibition of First Nations children’s artworks celebrating their creativity, their ideas, their voice. Primary school age children were invited to submit a painting and write messages on what is important to them.

Presented by the Women’s & Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Arts in Health Program, the exhibition supports the wellbeing of young patients while empowering young artists to creatively express their thoughts on ‘what matters to me’. In the main corridor gallery, the exhibition allows First Nations children to share their experience with the hospital community through their art.


Being Aboriginal by Telika, age 11, Central Yorke School

What Matters to Me

In 2023, when there have been important discussions about a First Nations Voice to Parliament, our Arts in Health Program created an opportunity for young First Nations children to have ‘their voice’ heard, inside the state’s specialist children’s health facility, the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Primary school aged children from selected schools across the state, including Central Yorke School (Maitland), Amata Anangu School (APY Lands), Avenues College (Adelaide) and Hospital School SA, created paintings and wrote messages on what is important to them.

This exhibition empowers the young artists, providing them with a presence, their own voice, to creatively express their thoughts on What Matters to Me.

“What matters to me: Family and friends. And hunting for fish,” Jay Jay, aged 10.

Our Arts in Health Program creates an interactive and vibrant hospital environment to improve the health and wellbeing of patients, their families and staff at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. The program focuses on encouraging creativity, providing moments of calm in a busy health environment, and easing the distress of patients and their families.

“As an Aboriginal person, coming into the hospital environment can be pretty scary and overwhelming. Any way we can use Aboriginal art to welcome families, to help them feel connected and safe, is a good thing,” Catherine Leane, Manager Strategic Partnerships, Aboriginal Health Division, Women’s and Children’s Health Network.

In a corridor gallery for all to see, the exhibition provides a way for First Nations children to connect with other children and especially supports those young patients who may be far from home or in an unfamiliar place.

For the young patients of the Hospital, the exhibition allows them to connect to their peers, and for the staff and clinical teams, the paintings provide an insight into what is important for First Nations children, highlighting the role of art in First Nations culture.

“What matters to me: Playing basketball with daddy,” Armali, aged 5.

By including images from young people living in regional and remote areas, as well as from Adelaide, we know this exhibition will help the whole Hospital community make links to home and to Country and help form connections with culture.

In discussions with students from Central Yorke School on Narungga Country about what matters to them, 9-year-old Kym answered, “Family”.

When asked, “Just one word?” he replied, “One word can make a big difference.”

What Matters to Me celebrates First Nations children, hearing their voices through their artworks and recognising their insights for the future.

Playing basketball with my dad by Amarli, age 5, Central Yorke School


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