Council has formally announced that Ilyaree Snider's submission titled "Understanding Reconciliation" has been selected to feature throughout our inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

Cook Shire Council is proud to formally announce that Ilyaree Snider's artwork Understanding Reconciliation has been selected to feature on the cover and throughout our inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). 

"As we work towards building a more including and reconciled community, Ilyaree's artwork will serve as a reminder of the important work that needs to be done and the role that art can play in bringing people together," said Mayor Peter Scott.

Ilyaree's artwork was selected by Council from the artworks submitted in response to the Deadly Young Artist call out, Mayor Scott noting that it was Ilyaree's exceptional talent and creative vision that shone through in her artwork, making it no surprise when council selected her work to represent it's RAP. 

Council were so impressed with the quality of submissions that they are are on display at Nature's Powerhouse as part of the Deadly Young Art Exhibition. The exhibition runs until Monday 17 April 2023 and community members are being encourage to vote for their favourite artwork for the People's Choice Award.

About the artist: Ilyaree Snider

Ilyaree Snider RAP Cover Artist


A proud descendant of the KuKu Yalanji Nation from Laura, and the Guwamu and Yugambeh Nation from South Queensland, Ilyaree comes from a family of artists and creatives, and attributes much of her creative practice to her father Nash Snider, and her late mother Nefertiti Fogarty, both celebrated Indigenous artists, dancers and cultural leaders.

The second eldest of five sisters, Ilyaree readily admits that she really only paints when an idea or inspiration truly moves her. Then she will start drawing it first, “in books, on my hand or on random bits of paper. Painting it then helps me to get my thoughts and views on things out into the world.”  

Currently in Grade 11 at Cooktown State School, Ilyaree plans on becoming a Commercial Aviation Pilot with an international airline, so she can fulfil her dream of seeing, and sharing her culture with the world.

The artwork: Understanding Reconciliation

Reconciliation is a process that acknowledges the past wrongs to build relationships of mutual respect and understanding. The different skin toned dots in the top section of the painting acknowledges the diversity of people and cultures. They are surrounded by the rainbow serpent, which in my culture is a powerful symbol of connection. The footprints of animals symbolises our ancestors and our cultural ways – much of which has been lost since the colonisation of Australia. The black and white figures symbolise how far acknowledging the past can bring together culture and perspectives of many kinds.

Other aspects of my culture are celebrated in the large circles: culturally significant native animals of Australia; a white dot painting represents the Dreamtime and the importance of Indigenous cultures and spirit; the Great Barrier Reef, where many in my community go to connect and share knowledge,  and a family walking towards the hope of Reconciliation and a future full of the merging of two different cultures.

If you look closer at my artwork, the circles and painting inside of them are not perfect. The shapes aren’t always clear and the colours aren’t harmonious. This was intentional, but at first I didn’t know why this was important to me. Then I realised that Australia did not have peaceful treaty to Reconciliation. History is not perfect – so why should my painting be? We will all benefit by recognising and acknowledging our wrongs. I’m not interested in the forms and colours, I’m only interested in expressing my Understanding of Reconciliation.

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