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Metro Tunnel

Brian Martin: The Agency of Bunggabi (trees)

City Square, May 2021 to present

Artist Statement

This work is a collection of charcoal drawings articulating the agency and importance of Country. These Countryscapes are a presentation of Bunggabi (trees) with a shield that floats across the surface. The shield, from Boonwurrung Country and Museum Victoria’s collection, links our own relationality to Country and Bungabbi.

Through research in the collections at Melbourne Museum with Boonwurrung traditional owner N'arweet Dr Carolyn Briggs AM we connected to multiple cultural materials that are made from Bunggabi, including shields, coolamons, canoes and musical instruments, to name a few. It is significant to connect cultural material with contemporary practices as it revitalises our ancestral past and demonstrates that Indigenous cultures are about the interconnectedness between memory, practice and Place.

About Brian Martin

Brian Martin is a descendant of Bundjalung, MurraWarri and Kamilaroi peoples and has been a practising artist for 30 years, exhibiting in the media of painting and drawing. His research and practice focus on refiguring Australian art and culture from an Indigenous ideological perspective, based on a reciprocal relationship to Country.

Brian is an impassioned educator and communicator who has published numerous essays and articles. His work has been
recognised in various art prizes and is held in various private and public collections including the National Gallery of Victoria. He is currently Associate Dean Indigenous at the Monash University Art, Design and Architecture Faculty and Director of Wominjeka Djeembana Research Lab.

This work is part of Moving Objects, commissioned by RISING, Museums Victoria and YIRRAMBOI and made possible by the Metro Tunnel Creative Program.