Aboriginal artist pays homage to homeland with modern museum art

14 October 2022

Museum of Tropical Queensland has unveiled the latest artwork in their First Nations Foyer Commission, an ongoing project showcasing emerging and established Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.

Proud Bindal/Wulgurukaba Wakka Wakka artist Niketa Law’s contemporary piece Wulgurukaba Country was selected as the new work to feature in the space.

The striking 4-metre-high artwork is a contemporary interpretation of Townsville showing Land and Sea Country where Niketa’s ancestors have a continued connection.

This new commission replaces the inaugural artwork Connections to the land and sea by Townsville artist, Jumbo Prior that was displayed from 2021.

Queensland Museum Network CEO Dr Jim Thompson said Niketa’s piece was selected from many incredible submissions as part of an Expression of Interest that was open from February until July this year inviting all First Nations artists with a connection to Townsville to enter their ideas and works.

“Niketa’s artwork is a vivid interpretation of the land and sea environments that make Townsville unique. It’s wonderful to have it on display in such a grand scale at the museum.” Dr Thompson said.

As a self-taught artist, Niketa works both in traditional and modern digital mediums, her pieces and creations not only showcased in galleries and public spaces around Australia, but also worn by thousands of people in a collaborative clothing line Consequence of Change, drawing international attention.

“It has been a fantastic opportunity to develop this piece for Museum of Tropical Queensland. It has allowed me to pay homage to my Traditional roots and show the growth of Townsville over time in a modern contemporary way,” Niketa said.

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said showcasing First Nations artworks and connections to 60,000 years of culture and country, is fundamental to our journey toward Treaty.

“Following the first mural from Townsville First Nations artist Jumbo Prior, this wonderful new work by Bindal/Wulgurukaba Wakka Wakka artist Niketa Law connects audiences with a rich history of Townsville’s shared lands, winds and waters,” Minister Enoch said. 

“The First Nations Foyer artwork supports Museum of Tropical Queensland to deliver on the Queensland Government’s Creative Together, a 10-year roadmap for the arts and culture and its priorities to elevate First Nations art, strengthen our communities and share our unique stories.” 

Assistant Curator, Anthropology at Museum of Tropical Queensland, Sophie Price said it was wonderful for the museum to connect with such a broad range of artists and community groups during the submission process.

To continue to support and elevate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art in the region, we will open the Expression of Interest again in 2023 to provide other artists the opportunity to showcase their incredible work just as Niketa and Jumbo have been able to,” Ms Price said. 

Wulgurukaba Country by Niketa Law will be on display until the end of 2023. First Nations Foyer is supported by Townsville Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Centre Committee.

ENDS

Media Contact: Kylie Hay | media@qm.qld.gov.au