About the artwork

Protection artwork

Indigenous artwork for the Stillbirth CRE “Protection” was commissioned by the Stillbirth CRE as part of its Indigenous Research Program. The purpose of the piece is to help raise awareness about the importance of culturally safe and appropriate Indigenous perinatal health and bereavement support in Australia, and to promote collaboration to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and families.

The painting represents the protection, support, and sense of community Indigenous Australian women need throughout their maternity care, including after a baby has passed away.

The hands represent a woman cradling her abdomen and the spirit of the baby who passed away. They also reflect the diverse Indigenous Advisory Group working with The Stillbirth CRE to reduce stillbirth and improve perinatal outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and families.

The colours of the Safer Baby Bundle surround the hands, representing the support of the resources helping to educate women, their families and communities.

Around the hands are the various sets of footprints. These are the footprints of babies who have passed away. They remain prominent in the painting as, although no longer with us, these babies will always be with their families and communities.

The red and yellow dots surrounding the art represent fire and the sun, acting as protection for communities, including protection of health, and protection of Indigenous culture.

Indigenous iconography is used around the hands, which is an important part of Indigenous culture and tradition. The symbols included in “Protection” represent elements of community.

Woman and child icon

Woman and child

Man icon


Campfire/gathering place icon

Gathering place

Women sitting around a campfire icon

Women sitting
around a campfire

About the

Leona McGrath is a Woopaburra and Kuku Yalanji woman from Queensland, now based in NSW. She is a mother, grandmother, artist and registered midwife. Leona is part of the Stillbirth CRE’s Indigenous Research Program and is a member
of its Indigenous Advisory Group.

Leona McGrath
Stronger Bubba Born texture brown B