AT weekends, Warrant Officer Anne Dufficy can be found sitting peacefully with a paintbrush in hand creating a sense of calm for herself.
The dots she paints connects not just images, but her Indigenous story with others.
Anne is based in Brisbane but her home is Badu Island in the Torres Strait.
She is currently deployed thousands of kilometres away from her island shores in Sinai, Egypt.
She is part of Operation Mazurka, an Australian contingent helping implement the security provisions of the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace.
“When you’re deployed, work is all around you. If someone’s got a question while I’m having dinner, I’m there for them, but painting is time out for me,” she said.
Her brush remains ever in reach as she works on a scene on the entertainment wall at The Cove – the recreation area for the Australian contingent to the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) at South Camp in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Anne said the area was lovely but did not display any Australian culture.
“When I first came here, I noticed countries like the Canadians identifying their First Nations, and the Kiwis with their strong Māori culture, so I wanted to showcase ours,” she said.
“I have some Aboriginal blood, but I predominantly identify as a Torres Strait Islander, so I thought I’d tell my story on the mural.”
Anne reached out to Auntie Elaine Hegarty, an Indigenous artist known for her designs.
A storyline was created fusing Aboriginal stories with the MFO.
The mural features a rainbow serpent, the creator of Earth in Dreamtime.
Two circles represent the north and south camp and sit below the MFO emblem.
A bright orange map of Australia sits underneath the dot paintings.
“This represents the poem I like called I Love a Sunburnt Country,” she said.
Gaps have been filled with colourful handprints from other rotation personnel.
“The men and women sign their name next to their design, making their mark on the wall,” she said.
“There are a lot of plaques around that have the names on them, but this is our plaque that says, ‘we’ve been here’.”
Anne said it was imperative to bring Indigenous culture to the MFO.
“We’re a very multicultural country and nations here want to know why we all look different,” she said.
“Not a lot of people overseas know much about the Indigenous Australians. I want to share as much as I know about the culture with my new friends here in the MFO.”
As a Warrant Officer, Anne serves as the force chief clerk, providing administrative advice and policy guidance to the force headquarters.
She also manages the administration for the 13 MFO nations.
Anne is also part of the Army Indigenous cultural advisory board and loves receiving care packages from Indigenous children all over Australia.
“They write letters asking questions like ‘what kind of people are over there?’,” she said.