Renowned artist and former south west Victoria resident Vicki Couzens has been selected as the artist to be involved in the integrated artwork component of the Port Campbell Town Centre Project.
Dr Couzens was chosen from 19 artists to design integrated artwork spanning the town centre redesign. A Keerray Wooroong woman, her family oral history speaks of cultural connection, belonging and history with Port Campbell.
She has distinguished herself in painting, installation, visual arts, printmaking, mixed media, performing arts, language, ceremony and teaching.
“I am honoured to have been commissioned for this project,” Dr Couzens said.
“It is dear to my heart, in being on Country with family cultural and historical connections.
“Importantly, I am very interested in the opportunity to weave a story through the artwork that respects and embraces the shared history of the special place that is Port Campbell.
“Mentoring and teaching are important in handing on knowledge and skills to the next Custodians and Elders in our families and communities. In this project I plan to mentor two Gunditjmara artists. One is my daughter, Yaraan Bundle, and another artist is yet to be confirmed.”
The town centre is being revitalised to create a pedestrian focussed, visitor friendly destination. Dr Couzens’ artwork will tell a story of interconnectivity, kinship and community, using design and materials that reflect the local environment.
Coastal Ward Councillor Simon Illingworth said coincidentally Dr Couzens had worked as lead consultant to Parks Victoria on the new $3.2 million Campbells Creek footbridge which links the town to the Discovery Walk through the National Park.
“Her proposal for the integrated artwork was accepted based only its artistic merit and it was only realised later that she had been involved in the bridge, which is proving to be a really popular addition to the town” Cr Illingworth said.
“There were a large number of impressive and professional submissions, but no matter which aspect we judged, Vicki continually stood out.
“It almost seems like it was meant to be. I wish her well and hope Port welcomes her with open arms.”
Cr Illingworth said the revitalisation project was focussed on keeping the town centre functional for residents, inviting to the ever-increasing numbers of visitors, and attractive and accessible to everyone.
“Rather than just having a single big artwork on its own, this is an opportunity to work with the landscape architects and design team on an overall theme that captures the spirit of Port Campbell.
“This is a great place to live for locals and this redesign is all about highlighting the special connection the community has with the natural environment, particularly the magnificent coastal landscape.
“We’re pleased to have an artist of Vicki’s calibre to take on that task. Given the big part Port Campbell has played in her family history, we’re confident her work will reflect the heritage and feel of the town that are so important to residents.
“We now call on both levels of government to commit funding for this project so we can see these designs turn into a reality.”