ABORIGINAL students at Notre Dame university have helped create a massive mural documenting more than 40,000 years of Indigenous culture.
Hanging in the uni’s new Manjaree (meeting) Place, the mural is ablaze with colours, symbols and stories of Australia’s traditional owners.
“This painting shows the colours of our land, from the Kimberley to the desert, to the Pilbara and to Noongar Boodjar, where we stand today,” Juanetia (Neta) Knapp says.
The Noongar artist-in-residence spent two months working on the 5.5 x 2.3 metre mural, with the help of NDU’s Aboriginal students.
This week the painting was unveiled to a packed room of excited faces, as students and staff waited to see the end result.
“I am so proud of it and I am so proud of the students and the support that the students were able to get coming here between exams and classes to finish the piece off,” Ms Knapp says.
The mural is designed to promote reconciliation and sharing of Aboriginal cultural knowledge.
One of the Stolen Generation, Ms Knapp believes the Manjaree Centre is a place she can share her culture with students.
Counselling student and Ngarluma Yinjibarndi woman Danielle Thurlow says she’d never worked on a piece this large before.
“Neta has done quite a bit for me ‘cause she’s helped me believe in myself a little bit more as an artist, ‘cause I’ve never seen myself to be one.
“The sea turtle is something I painted because it comes from my own family line and history,” she says.
Thurlow, whose mob is from the Pilbara, says because the painting has so many different stories and histories, they didn’t plan too much, and let the art unfold around them.
Medicine student Corey Dalton, who is part of the Arrernte mob from Alice Springs, incorporated stories from his grandparents’ country.
“It represents my grandmother’s and grandfather’s country back in the Northern Territory. I painted the rock pools and the rock pigeons and the colours of the country up there, which is very red.”
by MOLLY SCHMIDT