Skip to content
Culturally and linguistically diverse, Education Training

Rich artistic legacy of Aboriginal flag creator honoured with CDU doctorate

Charles Darwin University 2 mins read
Respected First Nations artist and activist Harold Thomas will be presented with an honourary doctorate from Charles Darwin University (CDU) this week.

Respected First Nations artist and activist Harold Thomas will be presented with an honourary doctorate from Charles Darwin University (CDU) this week, in recognition of his significant contribution to the fine arts and activism for Aboriginal rights.

Mr Thomas is most well-known for his design of the Aboriginal Flag, but his body of work expands across more than five decades of mastery in a variety of artistic mediums.

He will receive the title of Honourary Doctor of Arts at the upcoming CDU graduation at the Casuarina campus.

“The creation of Art is my life and will continue to be,” Mr Thomas said.

Painting watercolours and landscapes from the age of 14, Mr Thomas’ trajectory as an artist started when he won a scholarship to the South Australian School of Art for a study of Modern and Contemporary Fine Art, later becoming the first Aboriginal person to graduate from an Australian art school.

Amidst his studies and work as a survey artist at the South Australian Museum, Mr Thomas also became actively involved in social justice for Aboriginal rights.

In 1971, he designed a bold graphic artwork that swiftly became the emblem of the Aboriginal flag, first hoisted during the Aboriginal day march in Victoria Square, Adelaide on July 9 that year.

Drawing from a classical education, his medium of choice has distinctly changed over the years, from watercolours to Modern Art oil paintings, prints, detailed charcoal sketches and abstract graphics sculptures, poetry, book illustrator and Architectural designer and lecturer on Aboriginal material and culture.

CDU Deputy Vice-Chancellor First Nations Leadership, Professor Reuben Bolt, said Mr Thomas’ dedication to fine arts was a testament to his unwavering commitment to preserving and celebrating the rich cultural heritage of First Nations peoples.

“His artistic endeavours are long standing and have been developed over many years, across many artistic disciplines,” Professor Bolt said.

“One of his most influential works, was the design of the Aboriginal flag which later became one of the most recognisable symbols of Aboriginality - a national symbol that featured prominently in the social justice and land rights movements in Australia.

“It was a symbol of activism, yet at the same time, it was and still is, a symbol of unity and solidarity amongst Aboriginal peoples in Australia.”


Contact details:

Alayna Hansen
Communications Officer

T: +61 8 8946 7479
M: 0422 811 892
E: media@cdu.edu.au
W: cdu.edu.au

Media

More from this category

  • Education Training, Political
  • 14/04/2024
  • 14:09
Christian Schools Australia and Australian Association of Christian Schools

Christian Schools Welcome Prime Minister’s Commitment To Protecting Religious Freedom

14 April 2024 – for immediate release Christian Schools Welcome Prime Minister’s Commitment To Protecting Religious Freedom Christian schools have welcomed the commitment from the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, that religious freedom protections for faith groups “Will not go backwards while I’m Prime Minister of Australia”. The commitment, made in a meeting of key faith leaders and representatives of Christian schools on Friday, provides some welcome relief to Christian schools and their communities in the light of the release of the recent controversial final report from the Australian Law Reform Commission. Australian Association of Christian Schools Executive Officer Vanessa Cheng…

  • Contains:
  • Business Company News, Education Training
  • 12/04/2024
  • 15:30
Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia

ITECA Board Chair Appointment – Business Leader, Mark McKenzie

The peak body representing independent skills training, higher education, and international education providers, the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) has a new independent…

  • Contains:
  • Education Training, Environment
  • 12/04/2024
  • 10:54
National Tertiary Education Union

Charles Darwin University must stop attacks on academic freedom

The National Tertiary Education Union has urged Charles Darwin University’s vice-chancellor to drop his attack on academic freedom. Scott Bowman has asked a Senate inquiry into the controversial proposed development of the Middle Arm precinct on Darwin harbour not to publish two submissions from CDU academics. The academics were responding to an official CDU submission supporting the project made without consulting staff or students. In a letter published by the inquiry, Professor Bowman asked the committee not to publish a joint submission by two academics and to redact parts of a second submission by a professor of nursing and outgoing…

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.