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Funding to bring Yaburgurt public art to life

Jun 29, 2015 -- Posted by : admin

FUNDING TO BRING YABURGURT PUBLIC ART TO LIFE

Public artwork commemorating the life and times of Aboriginal leader Yaburgurt will soon be realised thanks to a significant grant from the State Government’s Royalties for Regions Regional Grants Scheme.
The City of Mandurah was recently awarded a grant of $190,000 to create a public artwork of Yaburgurt (George Winjan) who was a significant elder in the Aboriginal community.
Yaburgurt was a Bibbulmum Noongar leader of the Bindjareb Boodja during the early European settlement of Mandurah and the surrounding area.
The artwork, to be installed in Mandjar Square, will bring to life Yaburgurt’s character, essence and legacy to commemorate the 100th year anniversary of his death in 2015.
With the exact type of public art yet to be determined, the artwork will reflect and celebrate Yaburgurt’s life, as well as highlighting Mandurah’s Aboriginal characteristics. It will also use materials that either reference the Aboriginal community or were used by the community.
The public artwork is part of the City’s Reconciliation Action Plan 2012-2014 and the Arts, Heritage and Culture Strategy, both of which seek to create an inclusive wider community with strong relationships across cultures based on mutual respect and understanding.
The City of Mandurah is leading this project through the creation of the Yaburgurt Reference Group, which includes a number of organisations and individuals within the Aboriginal and broader community.
The project also responds to requests from Reference Group member Koolbardies Talking Group, and Aboriginal Elders.
The Yaburgurt public art project will help the City to work collaboratively with the Aboriginal community and local artists to showcase aspects of an ancient culture, and through the legacy of Yaburgurt, work towards addressing social issues.
Mayor Marina Vergone said the City was very excited to have received the Royalties for Regions funding to bring this significant project to life.
“This artwork will be such an important addition to the Mandurah community and will add to the diversity of public art in our city,” she said.
“In working with the chosen artist, the City will celebrate, nurture and respect Aboriginal culture and history of the Bindjareb people through the creation of this art piece.
“It’s hoped this project will encourage residents and visitors alike to connect with Mandurah’s diverse history and heritage.”
George Walley, Chairperson of the Yaburgurt Reference Group, said that the investment in the project shows “respect and great appreciation of Mandurah’s history and is an amazing opportunity to celebrate Yaburgurt’s life journey, his passing and legacy”.
It’s expected an artist will be appointed in August, and the artwork will be installed in mid-2016.
The Peel Regional Grants Scheme is administered by the Peel Development Commission.
Chairman of the Peel Development Commission, Paul Fitzpatrick said “the Commission is honoured to be able to make a contribution to such an important public project that recognises the legacy of one of our most significant Aboriginal elders. The creation of a number of significant Aboriginal artworks will foster greater social and cultural awareness of the traditional owners of our region.”
The City is also commemorating the 100th anniversary of Yaburgurt’s death through a series of events and programs to be held this year, including the Yaburgurt Memorial Project which took place in March.
Yaburgurt Background
Yaburgurt, who took the name George Winjan, is a significant figure in the Aboriginal community, representing a time of major change in Australia’s history and becoming a symbol of reconciliation.
The son of Winjan was a Tondarup (kinship name) and belonged to the Ocean Totem; he was born in Mandurah at a campsite near the old traffic bridge the Aboriginal people called Koolin-yinap (now Halls Head).
He was born in 1824, prior to British settling the Swan Coastal Plain in 1829. Yaburgurt lived around Mandurah and the district for all of his life until his death around 1915. He is buried in the grounds of the Anglican Church, Christ’s Church, located in Mandurah.
He was an important Elder and his camp site is located in Halls Head with various commemorative plaques and artworks that reference the area as a key Aboriginal site.
Media Contact: Holly Sutton and Kellie Revett, Media and Public Relations Consultant on 9550 3727 or media@mandurah.wa.gov.au.
26 June 2015

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