Wiradjuri artist and lifelong disability advocate, Uncle Paul Constable Calcott, has depicted the Disability Royal Commission story in a spectacular work of art titled Respectful Listening.
Respectful Listening depicts the story of The Disability Royal Commission, translated into a traditional style of art and symbols used by many of Australia’s First peoples to share information and stories for thousands of years.
This story is made up of seven people who are Elders and or respected members of their own communities. These seven people, the Commissioners, come from different community groups including Australia’s First People, people living with disability and the LGBTIQ+ community.
Together this group carry a message, depicted as a message stick for the Royal Commission. This group of Elders will travel across many language groups and communities, depicted as multiple circles connected across many areas of the country. The blue colours representing the salt water coast and islands, the colour red for the desert regions, the green the hinterlands and the yellow for the coast they will travel through.
The entrusted Elders will travel through these areas and nations, gathering stories of Violence, Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation from people with disability, their family members, carers and Elders.
The U shape in the painting represents a person and the shape we leave behind in the sand after we’ve been sitting and yarning. The U shape with another smaller u shaped inside of it represents an Elder, someone with knowledge and standing in their community protecting and supporting other members of their community.
A person with a disability is also represented by the U shape, however, the shape representing them is slightly shorter on one side to show that a person with a disability may leave a different shape in the sand, leaving their own unique mark on the world.
At the end of their journey, these seven Elders will take these stories that have been intrusted to them and present them to a group of government representatives. These representatives will use the information from all these stories to suggest changes, to make sure people with disability and Elders are cared for, supported and respected in the future.