Unique public artwork unveiled at RMIT

Revealed at RMIT’s city campus, Wurrunggi Biik - Law of the Land is a 2.4 metre artwork signifying a long-lasting spiritual connection to Country.

Wurrunggi Biik: Law of the Land at RMIT's city campus conjures Bundjil the Great Creator Spirit inside a towering possum skin cloak.

Designed by prominent Indigenous artist and Vice-Chancellor’s Indigenous Research Fellow, Dr Vicki Couzens, with collaborators Jeph Neale and Hilary Jackman, Wurrunggi Biik - Law of the Land is made from cast iron and represents a possum skin cloak with an intricate wedge tail eagle shaped spirit memory imprint.   

Couzens said the artwork conjured Bundjil the Great Creator Spirit inside a towering possum skin cloak “watching over the Country and making sure that things are OK”.

“It’s a powerful statement that through a focus on the concept of Sovereignty encourages engagement with the possibility of a shared future,” she said.

“Wurrunggi Biik - Law of the Land gives rise to the opportunity to be heard - the work inserting a visual and visceral presence in place and evoking the etheric and spiritual.

“It is a reminder and representation of the ever presence of Aboriginal people, Ancestors, Spirit and the Law of the Land.

“As an assertion of Aboriginal sovereignty, this work of a ‘floating’ possum skin cloak, inherently implies the presence of the wearer, and intends to be a reminder, a blessing and protection for all who share this space and place.”

Commissioned in 2017 as part of the New Academic Street Captial works project, the public artwork was co-curated and project managed by Architecture and Urban Design PhD student Grace Leone and independent curator and RMIT Master of Arts Management alumnus Jessica Clark.

L-R: Grace Leone, Jessica Clark, Hilary Jackman, Dionne Higgins, Peter Coloe, Jeph Neale and Vicki Couzens

Chief Operating Officer Dionne Higgins said the University was redefining its relationship in working with and supporting Aboriginal self-determination.

“Wurrunggi Biik - Law of the Land is a visual representation of that and something the RMIT community should be extremely proud of," she said.

“I’m sure this artwork will become part of the Melbourne art tour and people will come to visit it for many years to come.”

Wurrunggi Biik - Law of the Land has pride of place on Bowen Street at RMIT’s city campus.

 

Story: Darren Thomson

19 March 2019

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19 March 2019

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  • Alumni
  • Indigenous
  • Arts and culture

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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.

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