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New Thomas Road artwork reflects First nations heritage

New Thomas Road artwork reflects First nations heritage
7 February 2024

Installation is underway on a stunning artwork that reflects and celebrates First Nations heritage in the Kwinana area.

 

Caption: Cara Djubak by artist team Susan Milne, Greg Stonehouse and Nyoongar Yamatji artist Justin Martin, supported by Nyoongar Yamatji cultural advisor Cheryl Martin and a technical team.

The Thomas Road public artwork, Cara Djubak, is an iconic entry statement to the region featuring a representation of a yooral (carrying bowl) filled with delicate spider orchids towering nearly 10m tall and visible from the Thomas Road off-ramp in Casuarina.

Mayor Peter Feasey said, once installed, the artwork would be illuminated at night.

The artwork was funded by Main Roads WA, which contributed $300,000 for public artwork, along with a further $250,000 in developer contributions for public art which were assigned by the City of Kwinana.

Main Road WA appointed Element to lead the project which consulted the City’s Boola Maara (Many Hands) Advisory Group to seek input into the artist brief and the artist selection in 2022.

Mayor Feasey said thirteen artists expressed interest in the public art project, and of these, four were invited to develop a concept with three concepts received.

The artwork was commissioned to broadly reference the significance of the surrounding land to Aboriginal people, including five known Aboriginal Heritage sites in the area.

Community leader and Deputy Mayor Barry Winmar, who co-chairs the Boola Maara Advisory Group, said the artist team selected for this project in December 2022 was a collaboration between Susan Milne, Greg Stonehouse and Nyoongar Yamatji artist Justin Martin, supported by Nyoongar Yamatji cultural advisor Cheryl Martin and a technical team.

“Justin Martin’s art is based around traditional techniques and stories passed down from his grandmothers, and a prominent Elder local to Kwinana,” Deputy Mayor Winmar said.

“The design includes spider orchids as they were part of the Nyoongar spring diet with the stem eaten and the flowers used for ceremonial headdresses.

“The yooral, or carrying bowl, was often used by Nyoongar women as a vessel for carrying babies, food and tools,” he said.

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