Art is a powerful platform capable of telling stories and sharing experiences, and it’s something Kynan Barnes, a Huddle employee, can attest to.

“I wanted to share mum’s side and my dad’s side, my Indigenous heritage and English heritage,” he told North Media.

Barnes was working on a project in conjunction with Mackillop Regional Catholic School, and he was one of 13 lucky participants who used art to share stories about migration to Australia.

 “The kangaroo, yellow flower, witchety grubs, and symbols within the South American outline represents the stories and Dreamings that I am connected to through my mother’s side,” he described of his work (located middle on the far left of the piece).

“The ship represents my father’s family’s migration and settlement in Australia.

“The tank represents our family outstation near Alice Springs and the hills are the McDonnell Ranges that surround Alice Springs where I grew up.

“The man on the horse is my great grandfather who was the postman in the Central Australia region.”

Barnes’s history making up only a piece of the puzzle.

“Each participant created a quadrant of art, that eventually was pieced all together to create one giant piece that was a map of the world,” he explained.

“When we started we were given a quadrant to design that had outlines of, what we discovered later, were countries.”

The project provided Barnes with a reason to learn and ask more questions about his background.

“I didn’t really know anything past my great grandparents, so it was great really exploring my roots,” he said.

“Listening to other people’s journeys and stories of how they got to Australia, was really interesting.

“Some drew about how they escaped from adverse situations, some drew about memories, both happy and painful, of birth places and of moving to Australia.

“At the start of the project everyone was shy, but by the end you could see kids bonding with parents and grandparents as well as opening up to everyone else.

“It was really special to be a part of.”

When the final project was completed it showed a map of the world, each section unique.

“Using art to bring people together and to help everyone express themselves was really different but really special,” Barnes added.

“Every person got to tell their story and connect with others … the whole experience was incredibly powerful.”