National Reconciliation Week Mural
By Simone Thomson. Wurundjeri / Yorta -Yorta
Curator: Authority Creative Location: Gunpowder Walk mural (seasonal artwork on display with rotating art) Photographer: Piers Fitton
Aboriginal People have the oldest continuous living Culture on Earth. Our stories are in the stars in the sky and the sun and the moon, they are in the rich red soil and the flowing healing rivers. They are in the roots of the trees and the lush green forests, in the deep russet gorges and the baron sandy deserts. They are in the layers of soil that shape the violet mountains, that edge towards the waterways and shape the land with colour.
Our spirit is in the gum leaves that perfume the air with eucalyptus, that hold the knowledge of the ancestors who sing to us in the wind.
The traditional language of the Wurundjeri People is Woi-Wurrung. In Woi-Wurrung, the word Wurundjeri means ‘wurun’, ‘the manna gum tree’, and ‘djeri’, ‘the white grub that lives in the tree, the witchetty grub’. The floating gum leaves pays respects to the Woi-Wurrung Wurundjeri Peoples and the Clans of the Kulin Nation.
The Birrarung is the river of mist and shadows, it is known as the Yarra River. Its sacred waters flow throughout Country into the gathering place of Naarm, the city of Melbourne. Melbourne is symbolised by the large central circle in which ceremony was held along the banks of the Birrarung. The river is signified by the wavy lines that flow between the circle meeting places backdropped by the violet tones of the Dandenong’s, the mountainous ranges that hug the land – the white hilly stripes.
The band of stars that stretch across the sky represent the spiritual presence of the ancestors, the custodians of the ochre-coloured earth that holds our sacred song-lines. The guardians of ageless land knowledge that protects our irreplaceable environment – our Dreaming.
Simone Thomson is a Melbourne based Aboriginal artist and descendant of Victoria’s Wurundjeri and Yorta-Yorta tribes through her mother, and Irish and Scottish through her father.
She draws inspiration for her art from the abundant textures and colours of this beautiful land along with the ancestral bonds she has to the Birrarung (Yarra River) and Dhungala (the Murray River). Her people are river people, so she finds that waterways often interweave into her art along with dreaming and creation stories of the sky.
She pays her respects to her mother, her maternal grandmother Kooka Geraldine, and her mother, her great-grandmother – Kooka Yarmuk. It is through them in particular that she carries the language, stories and ancestral oral history and knowledge passed down to her from her mother.
Simone has been blessed with a strong cultural education that includes traditional song and dance as a young child. These cultural practices continued into her teenage years where she became the first graduating student of Victoria’s first Aboriginal school, Worawa Aboriginal College. It’s here that she picked up her first paint brush at fifteen and created her first dreaming story. Little did she know that she would continue this sacred art of storytelling well into my adult years and that she would still receive the same spiritual healing and strength she did back then from connecting to her culture. "I invite you to share with me my dreaming stories and journey."