Meaning sister in their First Nations languages, Banj Banj (Taungurung) / nawnta (palawa kani) represents the unique friendship between Thelma and Stacey, who are participants in The Torch’s Indigenous Arts in Prisons and Community program.
Growing up in the same regional town, Stacey and Thelma formed a strong bond during their incarceration together at Dame Phyllis Frost Centre in Deer Park. Their friendship epitomises both the familial bonds that can be forged in prison and what can be achieved when women empower other women.
Their strong, bold and colourful paintings generously share their inspiring artistic and cultural journey and express the resilience of First Nations women as they navigate a pathway through the justice system back to family, culture and community.
The Torch has been delivering the Statewide Indigenous Arts in Prison and Community program (SIAPC) since 2011. The SIAPC program is set within the context of the Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement and its focus is on the role of culture and cultural identity in the rehabilitative process of Indigenous prisoners.
The Torch employs Indigenous Arts Officers to deliver the program to Indigenous men and women in Victorian prisons and to support participants who are transitioning back into the community.