Robert’s artwork represents journey towards health equity
Published: 29 June 2022
Juru man and local artist Robert Paul has revealed the striking and poignant artwork that will adorn the cover of Townsville Hospital and Health Service’s inaugural Health Equity Strategy.
The artwork: The Integration of Two Worlds depicts the healthcare system in the centre with First Nations people coming in from the Torres Strait in the north and remote surrounding communities.
Healthcare workers are represented by the ‘u’ shaped symbols and coming in from the left side are footprints walking separately before joining together to represent the journey towards health equity.
“The footprints come together at a junction and walk side by side into the health care system,” Robert said.
“This is the beginning of working together, to solve the problems of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
“They continue out the other side of the circle, with the path representing the help needed to travel to the various centres outside their communities, to access the health care they require.
“It depicts both the giving, and acceptance of help.”
Robert grew up in Bowen where he raised a family and worked in a meat processing plant for 15 years before it closed in 1997.
In search of opportunity, Robert and his family relocated to Townsville where Robert pursued his childhood passion of art at university.
“I started drawing when I was at school and it had always been an interest, but I needed to touch up my skills and did an adult tertiary prep course to get me into JCU,” he said.
“I started with a bachelor of communication design course and that led me towards the graphic design side.
“It actually takes people by surprise that my work is digital, but it is anchored in the traditional history of First Nations art with a strong focus on storytelling.”
Robert’s artwork can be seen at the North Queensland Cowboys headquarters, at schools around Townsville and Bowen and most recently on three new tugboats servicing Abbott Point.
Townsville Hospital and Health Service executive director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Wendy Ah Chin said Robert’s artwork was another step forward towards completing the strategy.
‘’The next step is ensuring we have community so I am putting the final call out to you all to get involved in the development of the strategy,’’ Ms Ah Chin said.
“Our intention from the start has been to deliver this strategy in collaboration with community and we want to gather as much feedback as we can have a strong vision on how we reshape and improve the services we offer.
“This strategy represents a new way of working together, delivering real outcomes and lasting change through genuine partnerships.”
Ms Ah Chin said the second round of consultation on the health services inaugural health equity strategy was now underway.
‘‘A consultation draft of the report can be found at on the Townsville HHS consultation hub and we encourage everyone to get involved and provide their feedback,’’ Ms Ah Chin said.
Consultation will remain open until Thursday 30 June.
The Health Equity Strategy is backed by legislation and aims to close the gap in life expectancy between First Nations and non-Indigenous Queenslanders by 2032.