Wilcannia Central School

Students worked with Indigenous artist and elder Badger Bates to create an artwork reflecting connection to country, specifically the Baaka (Darling River).

Video – Wilcannia Central School

Duration – 5:00
Students of Wilcannia painted and installed six 2.4m x 1m wooden panels onto the Knox and Downs General Store on the Barrier Highway, Wilcannia

for a bunch of students to get up and do

public art in Vulcania is just really

something it can open people's eyes up

and make them see a bit more clearer

well Kenya is a remote town on the

darling River the our kanji people of

the traditional owners of this land my

name is Natalie that my imperial name is

Buffalo and it means butterfly barkindji

means river people and I think that our

kids will all identify strongly with how

important the river is without the river

I am nothing I have no culture my people

we lost the river has been really

impacted by drought and irrigation the

river at some points has stopped flowing

when the rivers up everybody would be

along the river camping there look slow

people don't have really anything to do

and so they just stick around town

these kids are potentially the first

generation of bucking Jacobs to face a

future without the bark of the river we

just really want the river to come back

we're looking at a location that will

have a lot of exposure beautiful old

grocery store on the main intersection

when you've interval Kenya the theme of

the artwork is our River our life and

it's for the kids to really celebrate

everything fantastic about the river I

want to see the students are they

feeling about the river in their heart

originally the plan was to choose

natural ochre colors for the whole

artwork but as soon as I asked the

students what type of colors they wanted

their listing pink purple yellow which

is great because it's their project

uncle badger is a very successful artist

and to see how captivated the students

are is quite magical

I'm just honored to come here with more

a little bit of knowledge a tiger he's

really a role model for the students

this art project it helps the kids too

because when they're bored they just

want to go home there they kind of like

that this Tim is actually being

collected from the riverbank that people

used to have houses made from and so

he's going to be cutting out bird and

fish shapes that we're going to actually

put on the mural to add another

dimension it's got these dents on it and

it really blends in with your artwork if

you do a bird you like see the feathers

or if you're doing the fish you could

imagine the dents was holding it come

down like the scale tonight badger will

talk to them about the shape of the

Barker which is really important the

river itself it was made by Machida

Rainbow seven and also cool awara our

dream time person

the river is how the elders hand on

their cultural identity and of their

losing that the elders have to find

other ways to come and talk about that

culture and what they're losing but also

hope of what they need to fight for the

most important thing that our kids can

get out of this art project is pride a

lot of the time they feel very shy and

ashamed so this is a really exciting

opportunity to show them that people

value them and that there are is worth

celebrating that River is our life I'd

bump it a lot of us when people walk

past the mural we want them to think

about the river and support it and not

trash it seeing the mural standing up on

the wall here was really special for

them seeing their sunset painting of all

Kenya as the Sun setting behind them

you don't read lots of good Anya's be

proud of it it was you doing this they

liked art because it lets them share

their voice and it lets them share their


I'm glad to be cocky because you're part

of one of the oldest living cultures on


  • Art
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