Campus mural captures Indigenous culture

Bush tucker, traditional dot-painted circles and footprints leading to a gathering point are three of the central features of a stunning mural painted by Indigenous student Angelina Parfitt, which was recently unveiled at Flinders University.

Covering three large, horizontal panels, the mural has been positioned as the centerpiece of the main wall of the Community Centre, a popular venue for residents of the University’s on-site student accommodation complex at the Deirdre Jordan Village.

Entitled Aningke-arle apurteirrerelte-aneme Akaltyirrityeke in her local Arrernte language, or A place where people gather to socialise and learn, the central panel is a blend of traditional elements from Indigenous painting and the artist’s personal touch.

“I love painting circles, so I decided to use circles in each corner of the painting to reflect the places where students were coming from, and a few others to show the places they had visited along the way and one in the centre to reflect the University and where they were gathering now,” Angelina, a Bachelor of Education student, said.

“I then drew a line linking the circles to represent the journey students go on and the friendships and connections they had made along the way.”

The outer two panels, entitled “Merne Bwetyarinye akerte Central Australia arinye” or “Bush food from Central Australia” feature Angelina’s bright interpretations of bush bananas, wild cherries, honey ants and witchetty grubs.

Commissioned by the Dean of Flinders Housing, Ms Helen Fletcher, the mural has become a talking point for both students and staff at Flinders Housing.

“We wanted to create something that felt as though it had links to the local area and that could truly symbolise what the Community Centre and Flinders Housing are all about – bringing people together from all walks of life – and Angelina has managed to achieve this quite brilliantly,” Ms Fletcher said.

Indeed, while she was painting the mural over the summer, Angelina, who lives in a remote community of just 500 people in Santa Teresa in the Northern Territory, said she was constantly surrounded by well-wishers from across the University.

“It was great, I didn’t think people would be that interested in Aboriginal art, but I had so many people come up and talk to me about it while I was painting – it was really nice. I am proud that I was asked to paint this mural, it has been a special journey for me.”

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