Dragonfly guides the way for transformation of Aboriginal Health

Darug artist Leanne Tobin with her work Dance of the Dragonflies, which was originally created for the Westmead Redevelopment.

A cheeky insect known to symbolise transformation will unite Aboriginal Health across Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD).

Westmead Redevelopment commissioned Darug artist Leanne Tobin to produce Dance of the Dragonflies, a gorgeous artwork featuring five vivid dragonflies swirling together on an ochre background.

This remarkable work was born out of feedback from community consultation that highlighted the need for Aboriginal identifiable branding within the district. This inspired the naming of Dragonfly Drive and the creation of Leanne’s piece.

WSLHD Aboriginal Health Strategy director Braiden Abala said staff loved the artwork so much that the district decided to purchase the copyright and use it for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander branding.

“Dragonflies are symbols of transformation, movement and good health, which perfectly encapsulates what we are doing and the progress we are aiming for in Western Sydney,” Braiden said.

“Some Aboriginal communities see the dragonfly as a cheeky stickybeak, always on the move between different points of interest, while others say it can bring comfort during sad or stressful times.

“Whenever Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and patients from any traditional nation see this beautiful artwork, they will know it represents something unique and tailored for them.”

“The artwork reflects the vibrancy and movement of the dragonflies as they congregate and move through their journey of life,” Leanne said.

Leanne said her artwork was designed to reflect the vibrancy and movement of the dragonflies as they congregate and move through their journey of life.

“The dragonfly is a beautiful and vibrant creature and is a welcome visitor to many Aboriginal communities across Australia,” Leanne said.

“Dragonflies remind us of family and the bringing together of families, as they are often seen together in groups around waterholes.

“They share the important healing properties from various medicinal bush plants as they fly from one plant to another – like the doctors, nurses and pharmacists of our hospitals.”

Staff are now encouraged to redesign any Aboriginal Health collateral to include the dragonfly artwork – for more information, please contact Braiden Abala on 0438 563 653 or at braiden.abala@health.nsw.gov.au.

The $1 billion Westmead Redevelopment, the largest health infrastructure project in the state, is transforming health care in Western Sydney. The new central acute services building is set to open on October 20, 2020.