Yarra City Council last night announced that it has commissioned internationally renowned artist Reko Rennie (pictured above) to produce a major public artwork paying tribute to the Stolen Generations.
The project is a collaboration between the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the council, which has been more than two years in the making.
The artwork will comprise a number of bronze spears and a coolamon (a bark vessel traditionally used to carry babies), with accompanying seating, lighting and landscaping. It will be located on the grounds of the Atherton Gardens Housing Estate in Gertrude Street, Fitzroy.
Fitzroy is widely acknowledged as the birthplace of the Aboriginal civil rights movement in Victoria. This location, known as ‘the Meeting Place’ has state-wide significance as a place where people from all over Victoria who had been forcibly removed from their families came to find and reconnect with family.
“We are delighted to have an artist the calibre of Reko Rennie bringing our community’s vision for a permanent public artwork honouring the Stolen Generations to life.
According to the Mayor, Cr Daniel Nguyen, “The artwork will acknowledge the deep pain and sadness experienced by the Stolen Generations and their families, as well as acknowledge the resilience and strength of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” he said.
“The idea for a public artwork commemorating the Stolen Generations came from our local Aboriginal community and was prioritised in our Aboriginal Partnerships Plan 2015-2018.
“We have been working closely with a Steering Group comprising representatives of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations, including people who are part of the Stolen Generations.
“It has been a privilege to work with this group, who have guided the whole process from the outset. We are proud and humbled to be able to deliver important public artwork on their behalf for their community, as well as the wider community.
“The artwork and surrounding garden will be a place for our community to gather and reflect. It will also be a beautiful tribute and a celebration of Aboriginal strength and culture.”
Reko Rennie working with UAP, 2017. Photo: Roger D’Souza
Last Updated: April 26, 2018 at 9:36 am