LOCAL Aboriginal artist Peta Ugle has won a Statewide competition as part of a new initiative to raise awareness about Aboriginal cancer rates.
Ugle’s artwork has been recreated on the cover of Cancer Council Western Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan launched this week, which has been heralded as a significant step forward in the fight to reduce the incidence and impact of cancer in Aboriginal communities.
The Mandurah resident said she was pleased the story she wanted to tell through her artwork would be used to help people work together on the important issue.
“I hope eventually fewer Aboriginal people will have to go through what my family had to go through as a result of cancer,” she said.
The artwork will also be used on a range of new Cancer Council Aboriginal resources, which Ugle said was significant because it made the material feel like ‘it belongs to us’.
Cancer Council WA president and cancer researcher Professor GeorgeYeoh said the action plan demonstrated the Cancer Council’s commitment and determination to reduce the incidence and impact cancer had in Aboriginal communities.
There was no doubt cancer was a significant factor in understanding why Aboriginal Australians could expect to live 10-15 years less than non-Aboriginal Australians.
Cancer death rates are 30 per cent higher for Aboriginal people than other Australians, 65 per cent higher in some remote areas and the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cancer deaths has been widening since 2006.
“We believe the plan will provide renewed energy to help drive our programs and initiatives across WA and most importantly, allow us to lead a community effort to work together to improve the quality of life and cancer outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” Professor Yeoh said.