Deadly Tots Project

Painting, Poetry and Getting Connected

Ngala Nanga Mai is a Parent Art group based at the La Perouse Aboriginal Health Centre. The group meet twice a week on Tuesday and Thursdays to paint and yarn
They bring their kids but The Deli childcare workers provide child care while the women paint, so they get a much needed and well deserved break, a bit of time for themselves and a chance to be creative and tell their stories.

Jen, the Child and Family Health Nurse is often on hand making toasted sandwiches. Lola, the Aboriginal Health Education Officer sits to paint and yarn. The girls from Malabar Midwives and the paediatricians are in and out. All of them ready to listen and support the women. One or other of the girls will slip out for a while to sit with the TAFE tutor. There’s always something happening, excursions to galleries and cultural events, people coming and going. This beautiful tapestry is all drawn together by Michelle Jersky, the Project Coordinator and art teacher and the glue of the group.

The Deadly Tots project team began visiting the group early on in the project. The group is lively and vibrant and the discussions range from all the everyday stuff going on in the lives of these young mums, from the well being of their kids and families to yarning about love, world events, Aboriginal history, men and women. In fact they yarn about all the things that women have yarned about forever. They laugh and they cry together. The group are well connected; to each other, to their communities and to services that can help them.

After a while the group began to yarn with the Project team about what’s important to them in bringing up their kids. It was during this time that one of the Mum’s, Bambi, said that the most important thing was having a network and being connected so you have support through the hard times as well as people to share the fun stuff with. This idea of getting connected became key to the project. Bambi a mother of four; and a poet wrote “Babies are the Future” for the project.

The Ngala Nanga Mai mums then worked on a beautiful collaborative artwork that has formed the foundation for the Deadly Tot’s resources. The painters describe the
main theme shown in the art work as united communities passing down culture and knowledge through families loving, yarning, singing, reading and playing with their kids.
The central image represents the family unit. The painting is divided into four parts separated by decorative bands.
On the right, the importance of nutrition is represented. On the left, reading and singing through culture, is shown. The bottom section represents playing and the top section represents the passing down of knowledge from the elders through the generations.

To Get Connected with Ngala Nanga Mai call Michelle on 0408 516 950.

Download Painting Key

The Deadly Tots project would like to acknowledge and pay respects to the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land on which they work and they would also like to pay their respect to elders past and present.