Art from the Heart: Using Art Narrative to Describe the Experiences of a Health Promotion Program in an Australian Aboriginal Community: Artistic Narrative of Aboriginal Health Promotion

By Caroline Nilson, Gloria Kearing, Catherine Fetherston and Paul Morrison.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Theory and History

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This article describes an art narrative project that encouraged the participants of the Bindjareb Yorgas Health Program (BYHP), in the South West of Western Australia, to share their personal experiences of involvement. The aims of the BYHP are: to foster a more supportive health environment amongst the Bindjareb community’s women and their families through participation, communication, and relationship building; the development of personal skills in achieving and maintaining wellness; and strengthening community actions by facilitating individual and group self-determination. As Aboriginal art is used to convey different kinds of storytelling this has aided in the expression of the community’s collective identity and has enabled the telling and re-telling of their stories across varying cultures, and to a range of audiences. The expression of personal and group narratives through art will also ensure that positive stories promoting family health and wellbeing can be told many times over with different groups of Aboriginal people resulting in the potential for on-going change. Moreover, the innovative approach taken here will also lead to embedded stories in the local cultural group, around the processes and outcomes of the project and its impact on their health. This article discusses the processes involved in the production of the art and the ‘meaning making’ that resulted from the project guided by frameworks of communication and behavioural change.

Keywords: Cultural Art Narrative, Art Narrative Method, Aboriginal Health Promotion, Aboriginal Art

The International Journal of Arts Theory and History, Volume 10, Issue 3, September, 2015, pp.13-32. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.166MB).

Caroline Nilson

Lecturer, School of Health Professions, Discipline of Nursing and Midwifery, Murdoch University, Mandurah, Western Australia, Australia

Gloria Kearing

Nyungar Woman Elder, Murray Districts Aboriginal Association, Pinjarra, Western Australia, Australia

Assoc. Prof. Catherine Fetherston

Discipline Head of Nursing and Midwifery and Associate Dean Learning and Teaching, School of Health Professions, Murdoch University, Mandurah, Western Australia, Australia

Prof. Paul Morrison

Dean, School of Health Professions, Murdoch University, Mandurah, Western Australia, Australia