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Metro Tunnel

Peter Waples-Crowe: Mirrigang Days

Federation Square, 2020

A consatinae-d artwork in earthy colours includes dingos on a white background.

Artist statement

“Mirrigang is the Ngarigo word for wild dog. The dingo is a totemic animal for me. It guides me spiritually, and as the alpine dingo species is on the verge of extinction in the wild, I feel I need to honour this creature and make it visible. It’s often seen as a pest, something that gets in the way of farming livestock, so I use this animal to represent myself as a queer, high-country Ngarigo person. My sexuality and Aboriginality can sometimes feel like I’m invisible too, both inside and outside the Aboriginal community.

"I have been using the orihon (Japanese book) as a medium for a few years now but Mirrigang Days is only my second art book. My partner gave me an orihon some years back. It's usually a place to record rubber stamps which you find at many Japanese temples, so I have made this book a prayer book to the dingo and my life. A culture book.”

About the artist

Peter Waples-Crowe is a Ngarigo artist living in Melbourne. His intersecting experiences as an Aboriginal person and his work with community health and arts organisations give him a unique perspective as an artist and community cultural development worker.

Waples-Crowe creates bold, colourful work that explores the representation of Aboriginal people in popular culture, often referencing the dingo as a totemic figure and an analogy for queer, outsider Mob.

Peter has been a multiple finalist for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards and the Victorian Indigenous Art award, receiving the three major awards in its 10-year history. His successful solo career has also included two group shows in 2016 and 2018 at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art.

Mirrigang Days won the Metro Tunnel Creative Program 2D Award at Koorie Heritage Trust as part of the 2019 Koorie Art Show. Peter’s work features in the promotional material for the 2020 Koorie Art Show. The Koorie Art Show will be on display at the Yarra Building, Koorie Heritage Trust at Federation Square until February 2021.

Photography by Anne-Marie De Boni