THE importance of Aboriginal cultural presence within Hobart’s urban environment has been emphasised through a new contemporary artwork installed as part of the Elizabeth Mall Information Hub upgrade.
Created by Indigenous woman, designer, cultural practitioner and facilitator of community and ceremonial-based experiences Michelle Maynard, her artwork will be a physical, cultural and spiritual intersection at the Information Hub, as well as a point of welcome for locals and visitors.
The artwork, titled Feeling the Country, is inspired by history and the natural environment and wraps around the Elizabeth Mall Information Hub building.
The artwork makes visible the ancestral footsteps in our urban landscape and raises poignant questions about how we connect and relate to our environment, each other and ourselves.
Hobart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said the Elizabeth Mall was an important gateway to the city.
She said the artwork acknowledged the cultural and historic significance of place for Tasmanian Aboriginal and the Mouheneener people.
“This is the first in a number of initiatives to address the importance of Aboriginal cultural presence and representation within Hobart’s urban environment,” she said.
“It embodies our commitment to working with Aboriginal people so that visitors and locals can connect, learn, share and deepen their awareness of Aboriginal culture and Tasmanian history.
“The artwork will be a vibrant, engaging and dynamic contemporary addition to the many layers of history within the mall and the city landscape.”
Ms Maynard’s cultural and visual art practice is informed by a deep awareness of the human experience and our need for connectivity.
“This work is exploring what it means to belong, to really feel belonging, to feel welcomed and whether these two are connected,” Ms Maynard said.
“Feeling the Country invites us to converse with the ancient knowledge system of country as it continues to generously hold us as we create new story, new memory.
“Can we be open to the idea of asking country itself, ‘may we be welcome?’”
For more information about the project, visit hobartcity.com.au/feelingthecountry.
Caption: The new Aboriginal artwork located in Elizabeth Street Mall. Photos credited to: Andrew Wilson Photography.