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Indigenous art to stop commuters at Tjapukai

March 17, 2014 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

The bus stop outside Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park in Cairns has become the first in Queensland to feature Indigenous art.

Chief Executive Officer Geoff Olson said a shield design by Napolean “Phillip” Oui had been selected to recognise the strong connection with the Djabugay people who are the land’s Traditional Owners.

Napolean Oui“His work is representative of the shield design unique to the rainforests of Tropical North Queensland,” he said.

“The panels are traditional rainforest shield designs featuring strong geometric patterns and the centre panel is a contemporary interpretation of the rainforest shield featuring Bundarra, the cassowary.”

Member for Barron River Michael Trout unveiled a plaque on behalf of the Minister for Transport and Main Roads at the site yesterday (March 13) acknowledging the unique culture and history of the Djabugay people.

“Customers arriving at Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park by bus will now start their journey into the rich cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as soon as they arrive at the bus stop,” Mr Trout said.

“Cairns is a vibrant city with a rich culture and I’m delighted the State Government can acknowledge the Djabugay people in this way as they are a part of making Cairns the wonderful attraction it is.”

Mr Oui said he grew up watching his grandfather, a sword maker in the Djabugay tribe, create boomerangs and continued the tradition of his ancestors by painting contemporary interpretations of their unique rainforest inspired shield designs.

Known as Weika (the quiet one) in Djabugay, Mr Oui uses similar symbols to paint his body before performances at Tjapukai where he has been performing for 14 years.

A recognised Indigenous artist, Mr Oui’s shield designs are displayed in the Tjapukai Gallery, the Mossenson Gallery in Melbourne and his recent exhibition called Rainforest ID was at The Cross Art Projects in Sydney.

The Djabugay people, also known as the Djabuganydji, are the original inhabitants of the mountains, gorges, lands and waters of a richly-forested part of the Great Dividing Range including the Barron Gorge and surrounding areas within the Wet Tropics World Heritage area of Queensland.

Cairns bus route 123 (James Cook University to Cairns Transit Mall) services the bus stop at Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park on the Cairns Western Arterial Road at Caravonica.

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