2024 ‘Indigenous Recognition’ Category Winner

City of Greater Dandenong, VIC

Wominjeka Project

2024 ‘Indigenous Recognition’ Category Winner

The Initiative

The Wominjeka Project is driven by a commitment to fostering cultural inclusivity, bridging communities, and nurturing a profound understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture. The project collaborated with four artists, three Bunurong and one Arrernte, to create original welcome flags for Dandenong’s Drum Theatre.

Designed to visually convey a heartfelt ‘Welcome’ message, these flags are prominently displayed at the theatre’s entrance and along the footpath, providing a warm embrace for Greater Dandenong, Victoria’s most diverse community, particularly the Bunurong community. The flags serve as powerful symbols, diminishing the perceived barrier associated with the building’s historical Victorian façade. Through unique colours and symbols, the flags reflect the meaning of performing arts in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Culture, deepening the venue’s identity as a performing arts hub and celebrating Bunurong Culture.

The project was celebrated at a special event on 21 March 2024, where the original artworks were exhibited in the theatre, and aligned with National Close the Gap Day and Harmony Day. This event provided a platform for the community to directly engage with artists and Bunurong Land Council representatives, aiming to foster meaningful conversations and develop a more inclusive and culturally enriched community fabric.

Filmed interviews with participating artists during the event provided deeper insights into their stories. Distributed through the theatre’s social channels and the Council’s two outdoor screens in public squares, these interviews will contribute to ongoing dialogue between Indigenous and non–Indigenous Australians, promoting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture to a broader audience.

The project’s impact extends beyond its immediate scope, symbolising a strengthened collaboration between the City of Greater Dandenong and the Bunurong Land Council. This collaboration transcends Wominjeka to larger public art projects like Muderra Way, a railway mural celebrating Bunurong culture and the renaming of Council’s Link Road to Muderra Way. Muderra means torrential rain in Boonwurrung language and provides a platform for visual storytelling.

By fostering cultural exchange, combining physical and digital engagement, and reinforcing positive relationships, the Wominjeka Project stands as an outstanding example of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander initiatives in local government, contributing to the well–being and recognition of the Indigenous community.

About the Category

The ‘Indigenous Recognition’ category recognises Indigenous initiatives and employees in local government which:

  • have representation of Indigenous people in their community and inform local government activities and policies;
  • overcome inequality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples through community-based policies and programs that are done in partnership with local Indigenous people;
  • have explicit Indigenous employment goals, strategies and support mechanisms such as Indigenous cadetship programs, mentoring and cultural awareness initiatives; and/or
  • make a difference to their community and workplace by delivering high quality initiatives and outcomes.

Successful initiatives in this award category benefit communities by:

  • bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and communities to share skills and experiences;
  • undertaking initiatives that reinforce, strengthen, and promote Indigenous culture, traditions and languages;
  • raising awareness and understanding of the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and culture; and/or
  • building positive and productive relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians through policies and programs.

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