First Nations artwork brought back to light

May 27, 2022 BY

Recognition: The shadow sculpture illuminates the Acknowledgment of Country at night. Photos: KATIE MARTIN

AN Acknowledgment of Country sculpture that first appeared in last year’s Awaken light show has found a new, temporary home.

The steel artwork is located outside Dudley House on View Street and features a shadow design that projects words acknowledging Bendigo’s Traditional Owners, the Dja Dja Wurrung and Taungurung peoples.

The sculpture also includes river and mountain artworks by Djaara artist Racquel Kerr and will be lit up nightly.

Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation, or DJAARA, was consulted to decide the new location and communications relationship manager Mariaa Randall said the sculpture was significant for the First Nations community.

“For Traditional Owners, it’s really important for them to be acknowledged and in such a beautiful, artistic way,” she said.

DJAARA communications relationship manager Mariaa Randall, City creative communities coordinator Maree Tonkin and BV&E manager Julie Amos unveiled the sculpture at Dudley House last week.

The sculpture has been kept in storage since Awaken ended, but Ms Randall said it was given a new life in the CBD’s bustling arts precinct and DJAARA was working to boost the profile of First Nations creatives across the region.

“A lot of the work DJAARA has done through their Recognition and Settlement Agreement has been integral to First Nations artists being more visible on Country and how they are part of all the amazing projects that are happening across the City of Greater Bendigo,” she said.

Manager of Bendigo Venues & Events, Julie Amos, said the sculpture was in a prime position to celebrate First Nations culture.

“It turns out that it has been [the perfect spot] because its right on this prominent position on View Street at the roundabout and it throws its light up on the wall to the Engine Room and really says ‘this is an arts and cultural precinct and First Nations people are welcome here’,” she said.

While temporary, the sculpture is expected to remain long term and Ms Randall said conversations were ongoing to find a culturally significant, permanent location.

Ms Amos said there was also potential for other Awaken installations to reappear around the city.