FPDN were humbled to be featured in a social media post by Canadian MP the Hon. Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport alongside her ‘Two Spirit Yarning’ artwork hanging in the Parliament of Canada. The artwork is by Wiradjuri artist and FPDN Resource and Training Development Manager Uncle Paul Constable Calcott.
Minister Duncan posted “This breathtaking painting is by Australian Aboriginal artist Paul Constable Calcott, who has worked in the area of disabilities for decades. The painting represents the journey of two-spirited people. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Paul. I think of you both every day”
The artwork, ‘Two Spirit Yarning’, was created by Uncle Paul for the Conference of States Parties (COSP) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) at the United nations in New York last year. FPDN, as part of DPO Australia, hosted a side event to discuss LGBTI people with disability & implementation of the CRPD. The inaugural event, sponsored by the Canadian government, was opened by Minster Duncan and marked the first time that LGBTI people with disability had been discussed at COSP.
Uncle Paul presented his artwork at the event and later gifted it to Minister Duncan “I was so impressed with Minister Duncan’s passion and commitment to our community and the respectful way she spoke about two spirit people and the barriers they face. I decided to present her with the painting in appreciation as the new custodian of a message stick linking our two spirit First Nations people in Canada and Australia living with disability” said Uncle Paul.
The ‘two spirit’ concept reflected in the artwork reflects the cultural belief that everyone is born with a male spirit or female and people who identify as LGBTIQ+ have multiple spirits.
The artwork speaks to the issues and barriers faced by LGBTIQ First Nations people living with disability in their day-to-day lives. The painting also depicts positive reforms such as the same sex marriage bill in Australia and how this has positively impacted on the LGBTIQ community.
Image Source: Instagram @kirstyduncanmp