Wurrunggi Biik-Law of the Land is a large-scale possum skin cloak with an intricate wedge tail eagle shaped spirit memory imprint made from cast iron.
The Wurrunggi Biik-Law of the Land public artwork is designed and produced by VC Indigenous Research Fellow Vicki Couzens in collaboration with Jeph Neale and Hilary Jackman. The public artwork is a powerful statement that through a focus on the concept of Sovereignty encourages engagement with the possibility of a shared future.
Wurrunggi Biik-Law of the Land gives rise to the opportunity to be heard - the work inserting a visual and visceral presence in place, and evoking the etheric and spiritual. It is a reminder and representation of the ever presence of Aboriginal people, Ancestors, Spirit and the Law of the Land.As an assertion of Aboriginal sovereignty, this work of a ‘floating’ Possum Skin Cloak, inherently implies the presence of the wearer, and intends to be a reminder, a blessing and protection for all who share this space and place - Vicki Couzens.
The artwork has been commissioned through the New Academic Street Project, Property Services Group and the RMIT Art Fund 2017, RMIT University Art Collection and co-curated and project managed by Grace Leone (PhD Student-School of Architecture and Urban Design) and Jessica Clark (Independent Curator and Master of Arts Management Graduate).
Over the past two years, I have have worked on Wurrunggi Biik-Law of the Land project as co-curator and co-project manager. Directed by the New Academic Street team, this project has provided me the opportunity to engage with my community – inside and outside of RMIT – and also to highlight the importance of community consultation and engagement. With the aim of the project to provide an invaluable legacy for the university that lives beyond the project, engages meaningfully with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, knowledges, history and culture, and contributes to the lifeblood of RMIT’s community; I am currently developing an education campaign that will provide opportunities for staff, students, community and the public to engage with the commissioned work.
The public artwork aims to encourage all peoples to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sovereignties, cultures and laws and the possibility of a shared future through a focus on the concept of Sovereignty. As a public art commission that will permanently reside on Wurundjeri land at RMIT’s City campus, the commission will reflect the reality that people, custom and Country are inextricably linked - Indigenous and non-Indigenous.
Through its engagement with these themes, the public artwork embraces change and progress through a wider lens that extends the current understanding of Reconciliation with the aim of creating a shared vision for all through the founding principle of Sovereignty. The project and its accompanying education kit prioritises community engagement and is informed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocols and practices in aim of connecting Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in the surrounding RMIT community and embraces the idea of art as a meeting place.