Connecting to country through art at Byron Bay’s Railway Park

Published on 25 October 2019

Dolphin-etched-into-concrete

Artwork depicting the Arakwal Bundjalung connection to country has been sand-blasted into concrete as part of a new public art installation at Railway Park in Byron Bay.

Five Arakwal Bundjalung artists have created 11 artworks that are now featured in exposed concrete in the footpaths on the western side of the park.

“This is one of the biggest public artworks that Arakwal has been involved with, and it is extremely special to have it featured in the centre of Byron Bay,” lead artist Nickolla Clark, said.

“To see our beautiful designs that we drew by hand now permanently featured in Railway Park is so rewarding for all of us,” Ms Clark said.

“We have a Native Title plaque in the park too which is significant for our people and I hope visitors will be inspired to learn more about our culture.

“Hopefully people take away the beauty of the art and some of the meaning behind it,” Ms Clark said.

Ms Clark facilitated workshops with four of her younger family members to come up with the design for the park.

17 year old Shanti Kelly-Torrens says being involved in the design process was extremely special for both herself and her family.

“My artwork is titled Ngthungulli (Julian Rocks) and the line work represents the landscape and rock formation at this site, which is incredibly important to my people, the Arkawal people,” Ms Kelly-Torrens said.

The team started the design process in March 2019, drawing and line cutting each work before they were digitised and laser-cut on aluminium stencils.

Sand-blasting was the final step to carve the works into concrete at the park.

The art explores themes including sacred sites, tools and weapons, the practice of lore and culture, and Arkawal totems such as:

  • Julian Rocks- Ngthungulli
  • Sun  creator & knowledge
  • Dolphins & fish- Wajung & Jullum
  • Family lines
  • Respect country – Garima Jagun

The art installation is a part of Council’s refurbishment of Railway Park which will be officially revealed at a community celebration on 2 November 2019 from 3pm.  Everyone’s invited!

For more information contact Annie Lewis, Media and Communications Coordinator, on 6626 7320.