Djaara Lights unique public artworks to be unveiled in November

Bendigo’s Telstra Exchange building and neighbouring Bendigo Creek will be transformed in early November with a spectacular night time display from Djaara Lights, featuring neon artworks, street art and digital experiences telling stories from Dja Dja Wurrung People.

Djaara Lights is planned to be unveiled on Saturday November 6 with a series of activations that tell dreaming stories of Djandak (Country) from Dja Dja Wurrung People, the Traditional Owners of Bendigo.

Installation has already begun and the public artworks will be located along Oscars Walk, starting at the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank forecourt and will end at the Telstra Exchange Building on Short Street.

Funded by Creative Victoria, Djaara Lights is a collaboration between DJAARA (Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation) and the City of Greater Bendigo.

Djaara CEO Rodney Carter said Djaara Lights placed Traditional Owner knowledge at the forefront of an artistic practice to showcase the Six Seasons in an innovative way that had not been shared before.

“Djaara Lights will provide a heightened platform to showcase Dja Dja Wurrung culture, language and art,” Mr Carter said.

“It showcases the imagination and artistry of two talented Djaara artists. Dja Dja Wurrung people have gone from strength to strength as we re-build our lives and reinforce the significant contributions we can bring to the broader community’s wellbeing.”

First Nations artists Drew Berick and Troy Firebrace are leading this culturally significant art project and have worked closely with 20 local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

“It is an overwhelming feeling of pride and privilege to be part of the Djaara lights project. Working with the younger artists to guide them and lead them has been rewarding. I have been incredibly fortunate with the successes I have had through creating art, but this project in particular is very exciting and humbling,” Mr Berick said.

“Being a part of Djaara Lights strengthens the voice of Djaara culture in the community. It contains visual elements that will prompt conversations and further learning about Djaara,” Mr Firebrace said.

Djaara Lights explores the Dja Dja Wurrung Six Seasons to create a unique night time cultural attraction for the community and visitors enjoying overnight stays in the region.

It will feature several light-based contemporary artworks including a 9.6m large-scale illuminated mural, ‘I am Djaara’. An augmented reality app will enable people using a mobile to enjoy artworks along Oscars Walk boardwalk leading to the illuminated mural.

City of Greater Bendigo’s Creative Communities Coordinator and joint project manager, Maree Tonkin said Djaara Lights was an important cultural step forward for the region.

“It celebrates and acknowledges Traditional Owner stories through new and exciting public art works and Djaara Lights is poised to become a significant cultural destination for Greater Bendigo,” Ms Tonkin said

Renowned Indigenous edutech company Indigital has been brought in to help with the technical aspects while specialist education and technical partners Bendigo Tech School and ACMI have been involved with the Six Seasons’ artworks.

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