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Van art a connection to original caretakers

OUTBACK ADVENTURE: Wendy Callanan in her travel van which her friend David Dunn painted for her. Picture: ELENOR TEDENBORGA CONNECTION with Indigenous Australia inspired a piece of artwork, which will be seen in remote communities across the country.
Nanjing Night Net

Wendy Callanan, of Wodonga, will embark on a trip starting up the east coast on Wednesday.

She drove around the western half of Australia last year and said this time she hoped to help in remote Indigenous communities.

She doesn’t know when she will return, but travelling with her will be the spirit of the Dunn family.

Border artist, David Dunn, spent about five days paining the driver side of MsCallanan’s van.

He hoped it would signal she was a friendly traveller.

“Because she has been travelling to outback communities, Ithought how about we do something about your bus,” Mr Dunn said.

“She will be recognised in the communities as a friend because she has the artwork.

“What Wendy is doing is how we are supposed to be as humans, helping out our elders, because they helped out us when we were little.”

Ms Callanan taught Mr Dunn’s daughter at theKoori Kindermanna Preschool and the pair have kept in touch ever since.

She also has a background in aged care and experience in helping people battling addiction.

Mr Dunn said hisartwork told a story, saying:“Thebottom part represents Wendy’s journey, she told me animals which she relates to, sort of like her totems.

“She told me a story about Corellas, how she collected feathers and gave them to an elder in Western Australia.

“The top part represents what happens when she pulls up in each community, they are celebrating Wendy’s arrival and taking care of her.

“And the figures on the box represent my family, Kylie, myself and our four children,Kobi, 14, Adina-Tallara, 12, Marra-Geen, 10, Davina-Kahli, 5.

“We arewishing her a safe and happy journey, our spirit is always with her.”

Over the next year, MsCallanan hoped to get to the KapululanguAboriginal Women’s Law and Culture Centre and to Wyndham.

“Part of my dream is to go and do volunteer work in the missions,” she said.

“At the women’s centre Iwould be looking after elderly Aboriginal women who are still living on the land by their culture.

“They are passing the message on, which is being lost to the young aboriginal girls.

“I alsowant to get back toWyndhamand try to offer something where there is a lot of drug and alcohol abuse.”

She said she hoped to share Mr Dunn’s artwork along the way.

“It is just amazing, Ididn’t know what David was going to paint,” she said.“He has painted my journey.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.