Indigenous Solidarity Art Project

Indigenous Solidarity Art Project

This participatory project by alumni Indianna Hunt communicates the value of respect and solidarity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and for people from all backgrounds on campus.

29 November 2021


The Journey of Mapiyal by Indianna Hunt

From Clubs Day, Sem 2, 2022, join in the journey to celebrate the launch of the final piece! After 2 years of meaningful creative collaboration with students, The Journey of Mapiyal (platypus in Wemba Wemba language) is almost complete.  

This participatory artwork is made of two elements linking RMIT Melbourne campuses: The Burrow – an immersive multimedia installation, is a City Campus and can be experienced now. And Mapiyal – a four metre long platypus sculpture made of cane and fabric which is getting ready to be installed at Bundoora Campus Lake during Clubs Day, July 27th.  

A Solidarity Art participatory project

This Solidarity Art Project is the second collaboration between RMIT Student Life and RUSU and includes consultation with Ngarara Willim. It's in its second year. The 2020-2021 RUSU Indigenous Officer Kimberly Lovegrove began the project as way to creatively provide space for informal conversation and connection between participants around these important issues. The 2022 Champion is RUSU Indigenous Officer Shylicia McKiernan. 

Get involved in 2022

Join in The Journey of Mapiyal (platypus, Wemba Wemba), by celebrating the launch of Mapiyal (sculpture) at Bundoora campus Lake July 27th. 

The Journey Of Mapiyal: The Burrow

Step inside and immerse yourself in Mapiyal’s Burrow, a multimedia installation created with contributions from RMIT students and staff.

Artist: Indianna Hunt Wemba Wemba, Gunditjmara, Jardwadjali, Wergaia

The Burrow 

Building 10, City Campus near RMIT Connect 

During Semester 2, 2021 Students and staff participated in creating the sound & visual elements of The Burrow both online and on campus, collaborating with Indianna to bring the artwork to life.  

These included:  

  • Platypus’ designed by students and staff to reflect our individual identities. These artworks transform into the animation of mapiyal swimming amongst Indianna's exquisite design inside The Burrow. 
  • Voices celebrating where people have come from, to be added into the mesmerising sound work, and accompanying Wemba Wemba Elder Kerry Clarke telling the story of mapiyal. 

The Journey of Mapiyal Collaborators 

  • Indianna Hunt, Lead artist and Burrow Design 
  • Kerry Clarke, Wemba Wemba Elder, Story of mapiyal 
  • Israel Carter, Sound Artist 
  • John Power, VFX Animation Director 

Mapiyal Sculpture 

In August 2021, the team was very lucky to begin building the ambitious mapiyal sculpture. During studio sessions held on RMIT City Campus, artist Indianna Hunt collaborated with cane artist Mahony Keily to plan and develop the three-dimensional platypus design. They were joined by small groups of RMIT staff and students to realise the four metre long cane and bamboo frame and Student Life Corner.  

Semester 1 2022 saw the mapiyal sculpture travel between the City, Brunswick and Bundoora campuses, collecting pledges towards solidarity from students and staff. The pledges will be attached to the cane sculpture over the coming months.  

Semester 2 2022 Finally, mapiyal will be installed at Bundoora campus lake. Keep an eye out for more details about the launch! 

About the artist – Indianna Hunt

Indianna Hunt, is a proud Wemba Wemba, Gunditjmara, Jardwadjali, Wergaia woman. She is an emerging visual artist who enjoys exploring different media and connecting people through art.

She grew up in Bordertown, SA on Bindjali country and moved to Naarm (Melbourne) in 2016 for study. 

“Many students here at RMIT, like me, have come from a long way away, but we are always connected by waterways. I was asked to come up with a concept relating to solidarity, respect, cultural identity, allyship, inclusion and belonging.

The story of the Platypus is very fitting. It speaks to being proud of who you are and where you’ve come from, while also respecting who other are.” 

Indianna studied a Diploma of Visual Arts at RMIT, graduating 2017. 

Picture of Indianna Hunt at RMIT Brunswick Campus Image: Indianna Hunt at RMIT Brunswick Campus. Photo Credit: Tope Adesina

The Journey of Mapiyal

Exploring the notions of respect for all students at RMIT, the Solidarity Art participatory project creatively communicates the value of respect and solidarity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and for people from all backgrounds on campus.  Championed by RUSU Indigenous Officer Kimberly Lovegrove, 'The Journey of Mapiyal' by RMIT Alumni Indianna Hunt is the second collaboration between RMIT Student Life and RUSU and includes consultation with Ngarara Willim.

Background to RMIT Student Life and RUSU collaboration - Blooming Now

In 2019, RMIT Student Life in collaboration with RMIT University Student Union (RUSU), created a participatory art project that offered RMIT students and staff an opportunity to acknowledge and reclaim space for women* at RMIT. 

More than 800 hands were created at banner-making workshops, with students and staff creating ‘hands’ that formed Blooming Now, a 10-metre-long banner designed and assembled by artist and RMIT alumni Joanna Mott. 

Proudly hanging the about the RUSU Offices on the City Campus, the project created a message of strength with participants, extending RMIT’s ‘Respect. Now. Always.’ campaign, along with RMIT's three year plan to prevent gender based sexual harm. 

The 2019 project was championed by RUSU President, Ella Gvildys and RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President, Martin Bean. You can watch the Blooming Now video here.

Language used throughout this artwork is done so with permission. This project fits into RMIT’s ‘Dhumbah Goorowa’ Reconciliation Plan (2019- 2020).

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aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

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 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.