Artwork chronicles changing tides of Victoria

Artwork chronicles changing tides of Victoria

A student artwork inspired by Victoria’s rich history has been unveiled outside the State Library of Victoria.

Bachelor of Textiles (Design) graduates Nikita Castellano and Taylah Cole’s work, Changing Tides, was the third and final design selected from a series produced by RMIT students to be displayed on construction hoardings in the library forecourt as it undergoes its $88.1 million Vision 2020 redevelopment.

The work, which will be displayed for approximately four months, was made possible by the generous support and permission of the Boom Wurrung Foundation and N'arweet Carolyn Briggs, Elder in Residence at the University’s Ngarara Willim Centre.

L-R: Nikita Castellano, Aunty Carolyn Briggs, Taylah Cole and Jan van Schaik L-R: Nikita Castellano, Aunty Carolyn Briggs, Taylah Cole and Jan van Schaik.

Castellano and Cole, who graduated from RMIT in 2018, engaged with Indigenous elders over the course of a semester to produce the artwork.

Castellano said she always looked for work with purpose and meaning.

“It's really exciting and special to show my family and also to think about how many people come past here and will see the artwork,” Castellano said.

She said one of the challenges was working out how to create an artwork on such a large scale.

“It was tricky managing files sizes and working out how much detail needed to be in it, because it covers so much space.”

The final work was created using a variety of techniques, including hand-generated art and photography, assembled in photoshop before being printed and installed at the library on the corner of Swanston and La Trobe streets, opposite the entrance to RMIT’s City campus.

Cole said it was beautiful to see how it has all came together.

“It's quite indescribable how I am feeling now, seeing our shared connections and where we've come from,” she said.

"I'm so grateful to have worked on this and it's been such a privilege and an honour to hear Aunty Caroline's stories."

Dean of School of Fashion and Textiles Professor Robyn Healy said the initiative was a significant opportunity for students to grow their skills and understanding of place through a major multi-disciplinary project.

“These multi-layered designs of the meandering Yarra River really show a thinking through Country, sharing knowledges and different archives, anticipating 'what happens next',” Healy said.

“It's exciting that our students, through this industry partnership, can share their work that represents contemporary Australia on such an iconic building.”

The project was part of a collaboration between RMIT and the State Library of Victoria, with a design research team led by Associate Professor Brad Haylock, Grace Leone and Dr Jan van Schaik.

The artwork was inspired by the history of Victoria.

Story: Jasmijn van Houten

27 August 2019


27 August 2019


  • fashion
  • Student experience
  • Design
  • Indigenous Australia

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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer