Canberra mural kick starts Indigenous community art project
Artist Daniel Williams in front of one of the murals in Canberra. Image: Adam Spence, ANU
Friday 8 June 2018
Researchers from The ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences are partnering with Canberra’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to develop a series of community art projects across the region.
The first public artwork from the Two Way Project was revealed this week with two large murals painted by Indigenous artists on a wall in Canberra.
Project leader Dr Kirrily Jordan said the project aims to bring to light issues of concern to local Indigenous people and build public awareness around relevant policy issues.
“There is a lot of power in public art, you don’t have to go to a gallery, its right there in the street,” Dr Jordan said.
“We are facilitating traditional owners in Canberra and Queanbeyan to tell their stories in new ways, in a visual format that will be open to the public.
“The project is looking at creative ways to have an impact in the community and to bring forward the voices of First Nations people.”
Artist and Ngunnawal man Adrian Brown said public art projects help give young Indigenous people a better sense of identity.
“This art gives our young people a sense of community, and a sense of identity, belonging and pride,” Mr Brown said.
“That power to know the voice of their people is still alive today.”
Ngunnawal Elder Tina Brown said she was pleased with the way the project had been a positive experience for the community.
“The project has been wonderful in the way it has brought families together, and very fitting that it was done during Reconciliation Week,” she said.
Ngambri elder Dr Matilda House highlighted the project’s benefits to local youth.
“The mural is about the future and teaching our culture to the kids,” Dr House said.
Dr Jordan is planning a series of workshops through 2018 to bring together different representatives from Indigenous communities in Canberra to identify a set of priorities to be addressed by the program.
“Once we’ve identified those priorities we can put in applications for funding to get those projects off the ground,” she said.
“If things go well, we hope to expand the project across the ACT and eventually look to supporting other First Nations communities through arts around Australia.”
The Two Way Project brings together ANU researchers from across Indigenous policy research, visual arts, music and science communication.