A Wiradjuri welcome from Cowra's Sharon Smith

Sharon Smith, a Wiradjuri woman from Cowra, is one of three Aboriginal artists selected by NRMA Insurance and local Aboriginal Land Councils to create First Nations artworks, which will appear as billboards on NSW highways.

The signs are designed to promote awareness about local Aboriginal culture while reminding everyone to drive safely particularly during the busy school holiday period.

Ms Smith said her artwork is based on her childhood memories of her country and culture.

"Reflecting on my own connection to land and country, my artwork is based on my childhood memories of visiting the three rivers of Wiradjuri country and hearing the colourful stories being passed down from my elders," she said.

"I believe the artwork I've created gives my ancestors and me a stronger voice and a unique way to connect with other members of the community. My art piece symbolises the river where my father was born."

While Ms Smith works mainly with acrylic on canvas, she also enjoys the media of ceramics, sculpture and weaving and said she is inspired artistically by her heritage and culture.

NRMA Insurance Executive Manager for Safer Communities Phil Lockyer said the artworks are designed to create awareness among the many Australians who drive across the country each year.

"Our artworks are designed to create awareness and help drivers connect with the land as they pass through, and contribute to a proud and shared national identity for all Australians," he said.

"We hope to work with local communities, Land Councils and First Nations artists from around New South Wales to create similar signs.

"We'd welcome other organisations and communities to join us in honouring 50,000 plus years of the First Nations history and heritage in New South Wales," he said.

Ms Smith's artwork can be seen in Dubbo's South, while the other artworks are located on the Princes Highway and the New England Highway.

The artworks have been welcomed by First Nations communities in Wonnarua, Dharawal and Wiradjuri.

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