Order of Malta engage Indigenous Australian friends during NAIDOC 2022
Report by Joseph Grogan
Amid NAIDOC Week 2022, an Indigenous Australian friend Barry Hair shared about his life and art, while expressing appreciation for the Order of Malta’s service through the Emmanuel City Mission (ECM) homeless sanctuary in Brisbane.
“I grew up in the bush, Eidsvold 4627 Qld. One of the Stolen Generation taken from my mum since born. I don’t want to dwell or get into it too much.
But I’ve been an artist since I been born. My art is about my life, my family, different people I meet, like you. My art is about All coming together. Corroboree.
My Dot work. One piece can take 3 months with a toothpick and different colours. Black, white, orange, purple – doesn’t matter what colour you are. We all come together.
That’s why I love (ECM Director) Roby and volunteers like your Mob. All coming together. Doing good. The peace here is ‘too cool for school’. It’s beautiful”.
Our OMV team was also moved by encountering an Indigenous Elder, who confided life’s hardships, and coming to terms with his Celtic name. Yet he emphasised his resilient, Indigenous spirit of Respect, integral to Elders Past, Present and Emerging.
“I always remind the young fellas how important Respect is. They’re the future. They’ll be the Elders one day.
No matter what life throws at you, you gotta keep your respect. A place like this (ECM) doesn’t work without respect going both ways”.
*Shayne kindly commended ECM and the Order of Malta for the respectful way our teams care for over 50 people in need; welcoming all, preparing and serving the free breakfast and BBQ lunch, sharing friendly conversations and distributing donated clothes, including the Order’s specialised “Coats for the Homeless”.
Our OMV team appreciates the mutual trust of our newfound friends, and the wider communal encouragement, including a bright surprise visit by the Order’s National President. We appreciate respectful cross-cultural sharing, rooted in care for people in need.