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Wesfarmers Resources helps Indigenous steel art to flourish

In 2012, Wesfarmers Resources purchased a piece of art from Aboriginal Steel Art artist Wayne ‘Liwingu’ McGinness shown above. Since then, a partnership has grown. There is a strong connection between our coal business and Aboriginal Steel Art as coal is necessary to make steel like that used by Wayne in his art.

A number of opportunities for both businesses have emerged since our initial purchase of a large steel crocodile for the Brisbane office. For example, Wesfarmers Resources commissioned Wayne to produce gifts for international customers from countries such as Japan, Taiwan, India and South Korea.

In September 2012, each of the 400 attendees at the Wesfarmers Leadership Conference received a specially commissioned blue Ulysses butterfly, hand-made by Wayne. This introduced Aboriginal Steel Art to the broader Wesfarmers Group, resulting in further work being commissioned by Blackwoods and Protector Alsafe. For its centenary last year, Wesfarmers commissioned a large piece of art by Wayne which was used to showcase the history of Wesfarmers at major events around the country.

Since starting his business in Darwin in 2008 Wayne McGinness has evolved from a welder to an artist and successful business owner. He has developed his own unique style of Aboriginal art and now runs a thriving business from the backyard of his family home in Kuranda, Far North Queensland, along with his wife Lucy.

Aboriginal Steel Art was a finalist in the 2014 Telstra Business of the Year Awards for Micro Business in Queensland and now exports its art around the world. Wesfarmers Resources is proud of the role it has played in this Indigenous business success story.