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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Local Indigenous artwork to feature on new Thomas Road roundabout in Kwinana

A public art piece depicting local Indigenous culture is set to be front and centre of a new roundabout to be buil in the City of Kwinana.

The artwork celebrating Nyoongar heritage will be installed in the roundabout along Thomas Road, Casuarina as a central structure welcoming locals and visitors to the City.

Kwinana mayor Carol Adams said the 10m installation — which features delicate spider orchids within a yooral carrying bowl sitting atop three paperbark trunks — would become an “iconic entry statement”.

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Main Roads WA contributed $300,000 towards the artwork, with another $250,000 allocated by the city.

The project was led by Element, which consulted with the Boola Maara Advisory Group to ensure it was culturally appropriate, and to seek input into the artist brief and artist selection.

Thirteen artists expressed interest in the public art project, with four invited to develop a concept and three concepts received.

The artwork broadly references five known Aboriginal Heritage sites in the area: The Spectacles, Treeby Road Lake, areas around Mortimer and Woolcoot roads in Wellard, the Bellway Sand Quarry in Wellard and the recently registered Thomas Road Aboriginal Heritage Place.

Elder and councillor Barry Winmar — who also co-chairs Boola Maara — said the artist team selected was Nyoongar Yamatji artist Justin Martin, Nyoongar Yamatji cultural advisor Cheryl Martin and a technical team.

“Justin’s art is based around traditional techniques and stories passed down from his grandmothers and a prominent elder local to Kwinana,” he said.

“Cheryl recently worked with Justin to produce an artwork on the walls surrounding the lookout in Rockingham.

“The artist’s concept 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 was often used by Nyoongar women as a vessel for carrying babies, food and tools.”

The design also went to the city’s Public Art Review Panel for consideration to ensure it aligned with the city’s Public Art Master Plan.

The PARP made recommendations to the artist team, which will be taken into account in the final concept.

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