First peoples’ story on Supercars stage

May 27, 2024 BY

Flying: Artwork by Wadawurrung man Billy-Jay O’Toole will cover the Bendix Racing Camaro during the Darwin Triple Crown event. Photo: SUPPLIED

A TOUCH of Wadawurrung culture will feature in the 2024 Supercars Indigenous Round.

At the Darwin Triple Crown in Mid-June, the Bendix Racing Camaro driven by Nick Percat will have a special livery created by Wadawurrung artist Billy-Jay O’Toole.

The painting tells a story about the local Country, and has been commissioned by Bendix, which is a Delacombe-based brake pad manufacturer.

“At the bottom of the artwork I’ve embedded a symbolism of the many hills and mountains in the region which are significant places and landmarks on Wadawurrung Country,” O’Toole said. “Above that there’s a line of cross hatching, a traditional marking honouring that we are on Wadawurrung Country. Then there’s a reference to the many waterways which were resources for Wadawurrung people for thousands of generations.”

O’Toole said eucalyptus leaves are featured to welcome and cleanse those who are visitors on his people’s Country, and four birds are significant symbols.

“Bunjil the wedged tail eagle was the creator of Wadawurrung Country 60,000 years ago,” he said. “Using his big powerful wings he created and carved the land to what it is today. Waa the crow is the protector of Wadawurrung Country and is emotive to Bunjil.

“Kunawarra the black swan is present in the artwork, as one of the largest black swan populations is on Wadawurrung Country at Lake Wendouree.

“Pawan the magpie sang to the first sunrise on Wadawurrung Country, and is part of our creation story.”

Meeting places are depicted, representing journeying across Australia, and handprints are reflective of Bendix’s employees and stakeholders.

“[It’s a commitment] to honouring and celebrating First Nations’ culture by applying this artwork to the Supercar for the upcoming Indigenous Round,” O’Toole said.

He made Bendix’s blue, black and white brand colours a feature of the artwork.

“We pay respect to Wadawurrung Country which has been the spiritual home of Bendix in Australia since 1955,” Bendix CEO George Kyriakopoulos said. “We are so excited and moved by BJ’s artwork and the detailed thought and messaging he’s put into the piece.

“I think with this livery adorning the Bendix Racing Camaro, we’ll have a winning car in Darwin.”