CRCS Employee Exhibition for Australian Citizenship Day 2020

18 September 2020

Capital Region Community Services’ Cultural Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Working Group is happy to present our Australian Citizenship Day exhibition.

This exhibition showcases artefacts and cultural items from our employees that share a small part of the stories of where we have come from to become Australian citizens today.

Capital Region Community Services is a diverse organisation, with many languages and nations represented among our employees. We are proud to display part of what makes us who we are.

Please enjoy our virtual exhibition of these precious items and the stories that go with them.

Noken (handbag)

Made of woven tree bark or orchid plant stems. Its distinctive usage involves being hung from the head, is traditionally used to carry various goods and still common throughout Papua. It is used as a trade or gift-giving item during cultural ceremonies.

In 2012, noken was listed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists as a cultural heritage. 

Ronnie, Youth Worker

Kwakumba (flute)

An ancient bamboo flute from the highlands of West Papua and PNG depicting the Birds of Paradise. It’s hauntingly beautiful immersed in the soundscapes of ancient chants and takes one deep into the jungles of New Guinea Island to connect with the mother earth. 

Ronnie, Youth Worker

Tifa/Kundu (drum)

A ceremonial wooden hand drum, called Tifa from West Papua or Kundu from Papua, New Guinea.

The hollow-body is entirely carved from one piece of hardwood log. A Lizard Skin on the top with wood glue holding it together.

For my people, the sound of the Tifa represents the voice of the ancestors. The Tifa player plays a critical role as the peace-keeper. The rhythm is often played in ceremonies and follows the songlines and kinship throughout Melanesia.

Ronnie, Youth Worker

Beer can

My dad told me a few years ago that my ancestors lived in Kilkenny, Ireland. I don’t have any connection with Ireland, as my ancestors came over as convicts in the early 1800’s. I visited Kilkenny in Ireland in 2016, and it was a special moment seeing where my ancestors lived and died. I occasionally drink Kilkenny beer to remember where I came from.

Daniel, Program Manager

Traditional dress

This dress for me unfolds not just my persona but memories, relationship and meaningful experiences during the time spent with my grandmother.

My Nana used to wear luxuriously designed dresses made of silk, barcode with heavy embroidery so I just delved in to the idea of getting a similar dress – A traditional dress but mixed with modernity.

Nisha, Payroll officer

Finnish traditional costume

My wife was born in Finland, and is part of the Finnish community in Canberra. As a child, she wore this outfit to celebrate Finnish Independence Day in the heat of December. This outfit is derived from the traditional costumes of the Sami people, a nomadic indigenous people living across several Nordic countries including Finland. One day, my wife and I will teach our children about their Finnish ancestry, and they might even wear this outfit!

Daniel, Program Manager


My love for colours can easily be explained by this bag which has got a beautiful combination of Indian, Gujarati ethnic colours. The Kutch Embroidery is quite famous in Gujarat, India and I bet any tourist wouldn’t go without buying a piece of Kutch embroidery in some shape or form.

It’s a handicraft and textile signature art tradition of the tribal community of the Kutch District in Gujarat, India. Embroidered products are of 16 types and each type has a story associated to it, isn’t it fascinating!

It is also said that cobblers known as Mochis were trained in this art form by the sufi saints of Sindh. The art form became a vocation for women of Kutch not only to meet their own clothing requirements but also to make a living, in view of severe dry and very hot conditions of Kutch. It became a generational art with the skills taught from mother to daughter.

Katyani, HR Business Partner

Wedding Ring

This gold ring was given to my mother by my paternal grandmother on her wedding day as a gift. On my wedding day this year my mother bequeathed the same ring to me to wear.
The outside of the ring depicts a dragon chasing a pearl, which is a traditional Chinese motif.
Historically, the Chinese dragon was associated with the Emperor of China and used as a symbol to represent imperial power. The founder of the Han dynasty Liu Bang claimed that he was conceived after his mother dreamt of a dragon.
The inside of the ring also shows an inscription.

Louisa, Youth worker
Mahjong set

Mahjong is a tile-based game that was developed during the Qing dynasty in China and has spread throughout the world since the early 20th century. It is commonly played by four players (with some three-player variations found in Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asia). The game and its regional variants are widely played throughout Eastern and South Eastern Asia and have also become popular in Western countries. The game has also been adapted into a widespread online entertainment.
Similar to the Western game rummy, Mahjong is a game of skill, strategy and calculation, also involving a degree of chance.

Louisa, Youth worker

My grandmother and I have a unique relationship. We weren’t very close when I was growing up. But when I moved back to Colombo for two years, I took advantage of her prime real estate in the heart of the city and in close proximity to my work at the time by moving in with her.
This is when we got to know each other as adults, and we’ve developed a special bond ever since. She and I would have hours-long conversations about war and peace, religion, and feminism. When I moved away again, I told her to keep in touch through letter-writing – our little way of keeping a dying art alive.
This is the latest of a dozen letters we have exchanged. And even through letters, she manages to guilt me about being single and childless! But I’ll take the guilt if it means I get to hear from her again.

Wendy, Marketing and Communications
Poncho and Soccer jersey

This is a Poncho, it is used in the Antioquia region in Colombia. My mom gave it to me to remember the beautiful colours and great music of my beautiful country. This Poncho reminds me of my mom, her beautiful eyes and the warmth of her hugs. This is my precious treasure.

In Colombia we are soccer fans, I am not a big fan but I do support the Colombian team when they play in the World Cup and I sing to them: “SI SI Colombia, SI SI Caribe” (“YES YES Colombia, YES YES Caribbean”)

Amanda, former HR Support Officer

From the opening exhibition

Amanda with her submission
Nisha with her submission
CDI Strategic Working Group leader Daniel giving the opening remarks
The gallery exhibition

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