NAIDOC Week with Rosie Paine

Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!

In the spirit of this years NAIDOC Week theme, CWSW had the pleasure of interviewing Rosie Paine.

Rosie is a proud Wongutha (Yilka)/Noongar/Yamatji woman, wife, mother, artist and Deputy Principal.

Read more about Rosie's story and her insights on this years NAIDOC Week theme below.

Rosie Image
Rosie Paine, proud Wongutha (Yilka)/Noongar/Yamatji woman, wife, mother, artist and Deputy Principal.

Q: Rosie, thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed in the spirit of this year’s NAIDOC Week. We are thrilled to put the spotlight on you as CWSW have been working with you for a little while and highly value your art and work in this space. Could you please start by telling us a little bit about yourself?

A: Kaya, my name is Rosie Paine and I am a Wongutha (Yilka)/Noongar/Yamatji woman currently living on Noongar Boodja. I am a wife and proud mother of 2 children, Samuel and Charlee. I have been a classroom teacher for 14 years and have recently moved into the role of Deputy Principal. As you mentioned I am also an artist. I love sharing my culture, stories and helping others share their stories through my artwork. I grew up in Cosmo Newberry Aboriginal Community and Laverton, on the edge of Great Sandy Desert here in WA.

Q: In summary, this year’s theme acknowledges the need to continue working for systemic change and to keep rallying  around Aboriginal communities. It’s about genuine commitment by all of us to ‘Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!’ and support and secure institutional, structural, collaborative and cooperative reform. What does this theme mean to you?  

A: This year’s theme is a powerful one that calls upon all Australians to commit to reform at all levels of society. It challenges all of us to question the systems that were built on, and continue to thrive on, inequity for our First Nations people. As an Aboriginal woman I use my role as an educator and an artist to support others to develop a strong moral purpose to create change for a reconciled Australia. This theme also acknowledges those that have fought for change and those that continue to.  

Q: Rosie you are a prolific artist, working with a range of mediums and exploring diverse themes. CWSW have had the privilege of commissioning some of your work, which people can see featured on our service directory and other resources. Could you speak about your art and what it means to you? 

A: My art allows me to connect with and share my culture with others. It allows me to share the stories of my culture as well as sharing the stories of others through my art. I was taught how to paint at a young age by watching my father create his own amazing artworks. My art allows me to have conversations with others that helps them to unlearn, relearn and learn about First Nations people.  

Q: This year you also designed some great NAIDOC week t-shirts, could you tell us about them? What else do you design? And where we can we find you?  

A: This year I submitted an entry in the National NAIDOC Poster Competition. Unfortunately, my artwork didn’t win but I decided to put my design on t-shirts for others to purchase. I have received great feedback on the t-shirts and will do one for the 2023 NAIDOC Week. My designs also feature on bags and tea towels. My artwork has also been showcased in Raine Square and is featured in publications by many organisations including Vinnies WA and the Centre for Women’s Safety and Wellbeing. Follow Rosie on Facebook here.

Q: I know you’re also working as a Deputy Principal! Could you tell us about this work, your day job and how you see the NAIDOC theme evolving in this space? 

A: Thank you. Yes, I have been working in the role of Deputy Principal for under a year and I am thoroughly enjoying being involved in school wide processes. As an Aboriginal woman in a school leadership role, it’s wonderful to have a voice in driving school wide cultural responsiveness. I work with an amazing leadership team and staff that value the importance of developing cultural responsiveness and reconciliation in our school community. It’s wonderful to see the importance placed on reconciliation and cultural responsiveness by our education system. I am seeing so many schools actively engaging in this in their everyday practices.  

Q: NAIDOC Week is also a time to celebrate the many who have driven and led change in communities over generations. They have been the heroes and champions of change and equality as we work towards reconciliation.  What does this mean to you? Who do you admire or who inspires you in this space? 

A: There are so many people that I am inspired by. First and foremost, I am inspired by my own grandparents, in particular my Grandmother Frances. She was a part of the Stolen Generation and lived through so much injustice for our Aboriginal people. She was a strong, kind, funny and resilient woman. My own parents also inspire me as they raised us to be kind, creative and hard-working people. My parents were always sharing our culture with others, visiting our school to teach it to students and staff and actively being involved in reconciliation. 

Q: And finally, NAIDOC Week 2022 encourages us to move beyond just acknowledgements, good intentions, empty works and promises and hollow commitments. How do you think people/organisations/institutions can move past this and authentically ‘Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!’ For Aboriginal people and communities? 

A: I think that we need to begin by learning more about the Country on which we live and work. Learn about the history of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and acknowledge that so much trauma has, and continues to occur, for our communities through the inequity of our current systems.  Become an ally by walking and talking WITH our people not walking and talking FOR us.  

Thank you for your generosity, insight and leadership, Rosie. CWSW are proud to feature your artwork in our work and celebrate NAIDOC Week with you. 

"Become an ally by walking and talking WITH our people not walking and talking FOR us."  

A selection of Rosie's artworks commissioned by CWSW



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