Aboriginal artist Justin Martin redesigns The West’s masthead to honour Reconciliation Week

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Annabel HennessyThe West Australian
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Aboriginal artist Justin Martin who has re-designed the mast head for The West Australian. Martin is pictured at home with children Kyana, Jilyera and Carrara.
Camera IconAboriginal artist Justin Martin who has re-designed the mast head for The West Australian. Martin is pictured at home with children Kyana, Jilyera and Carrara. Credit: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

For Justin Martin there is no better way of broaching a difficult conversation than through art.

And that’s what his hoping his design for today’s The West Australian will do. Mr Martin, a Noongar man, has redesigned today’s The West Australian masthead in honour of Reconciliation Week.

He hopes the design, which incorporates the imprints of WA animals including the emu and the kangaroo, will engage conversations with the paper’s readers.

Mr Martin is the owner and founder of Djurandi Dreaming, a tour-guiding and Aboriginal art company which runs cultural workshops in Perth for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

He often uses his workshops to talk about tough subjects like the stolen generation.

The West Australian’s front page from Wednesday, May 27.
Camera IconThe West Australian’s front page from Wednesday, May 27.

“When you do Aboriginal art, it’s a form of meditation and it’s also a connecting point for people. When you sit down and do a workshop with me, you’re engaging with me and you’re talking about subjects and issues which (some) people refuse to talk about,” Mr Martin said.

I’m not afraid to talk about the issues and problems, and therefore people might find feel bad and I give them that feeling it’s all right to be who you are and talk about the past, and not talking about the past histories.

Justin Martin is the owner and founder of Djurandi Dreaming, a tour-guiding and Aboriginal art company which runs cultural workshops in Perth.
Camera IconJustin Martin is the owner and founder of Djurandi Dreaming, a tour-guiding and Aboriginal art company which runs cultural workshops in Perth. Credit: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

A 38-year-old father-of-five, Mr Martin said some of his earliest memories are watching his grandmother paint.

“When she passed away when I was in my 20s. I started getting into painting as a way to connect with her,” he said.

He encouraged people to start conversations with Aboriginal elders.

“There are many Aboriginal families still healing and sometimes it can be a sensitive subject, but most elders would love the chance to be consulted and asked questions.”

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