Murrup Biik is a public art collaborative created by Aunty Kim Wandin and Christine Joy.
The essence Murrup Biik an an Aboriginal person is knowing that I come from Country and I am Country and that everything we do effects Country at all levels. It's about deep listening, to hear what Country is saying to us.
Our design work is committed to active philosophy of reciprocal relationship with Country which includes:
honouring and acknowledging Ancestors
honouring all things Country
holarchic rather than herirarchical
Country-centric as a priority rather than human-centric
telling the narrative of plants animals waterways, the layers of Country
working with the intangible
actively healing Country through our work
keeping cultural practice alive
bringing awareness to community
a political statement of Aboriginal survival
use of language and ceremony
What we do
We work with a range of mediums and modalities:
interiors and exteriors
ephemeral and permanent
small and large scale
written narrative and concept development
WHO WE ARE
Aunty Kim Wandin (Wandoon) Aunty Kim Wandin is a Wurundjeri Elder of the Woi-Wurrung language group.
She has lived and worked 'on Country' in Healesville her entire life. Her traditional basket making has been handed down to her by direct lineage: from her Grandmother, her Great Grandmother and the Ancestors. Aunty Kim's work represents a significant cultural position within the South East of Victoria as part of an important group of arts practitioners. Her work adheres to and references traditional cultural practices.
As a leading Aboriginal artist, Aunty Kim is exploring contemporary genres that both enhance and complement her design work, basketry and fibre pieces. Her work speaks of space, texture and light, while giving reference to notions of movement. As an Elder, she advocates for strengthening culture and self-determination with Aboriginal people. She generously shares her knowledge with non-Indigenous people with thoughtfully prepared 'Welcome to Country' and 'Smoking' ceremonies, as well as her consistent level of integrity working collaboratively with Local Government, organisations and individuals through workshops and as a private consultant.
Aunty Kim Wandin is a passionate, caring, professional Aboriginal woman and artist who is committed to her family, Ancestors, Elders and her Culture.
Chris Joy brings design, coordination, curation and community engagement skills to the project team. As a specialist in community programs and projects Chris' prevailing passion is Aboriginal culture and its role in transforming social and environmental ecologies.
Her work at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria includes the creation of the Ian Potter Foundation Children's Garden. As a member of the design team, Chris spent two years researching the role of plants and nature, upon the sensory, emotional and imaginative inner landscapes. In one component of this project, and one of many other art-in-landscape projects, Chris worked with Aboriginal artist, Glenn Romanis, to create the design concept for the Welcoming Stone, now in place at the entrance to the Children's Garden. She has lead many design and arts-based projects in cultural organisations and at community level.
Chris collaborates on design and other projects with members of the Aboriginal community of Healesville and manages Hearth Gallery.
YERRIN BIIK DHUMBA CLIENT: Yarra Ranges Council STATUS: complete SITE: Yarra Ranges Regional Museum
Yerrin biik dhumba means bush country speaks in the past & present. Through this new work, Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung elder & artist Aunty Kim Wandin, Chris Joy & Ryan Tews encourage us all to listen to the bush as a living & dynamic entity with an important message for us. Yerrin biik dhumba is a protest: against the continued disregard of First Nations’ practices & voices in the conversation & response to climate change; the logging projects which are decimating native forests; & short-sighted, infrastructure-focused responses to addressing the immediate effects of the climate crisis.
The resulting work weaves together the imagery, sounds & scents of Wurundjeri Country with the wood carvings of Wurundjeri artist Lewis Wandin-Bursill to present a sensory & thought-provoking experience. Inspired by his great uncle William Barak, a ngurungaeta (leader) of Woi-wurrung, Wandin-Bursill’s carvings acknowledge the presence of Aboriginal people who have been here since the beginning of time. Transporting audiences to Wurundjeri Country, this work suggests that change is only possible when we work collectively to protect what we have. The precious bushland & forests that define the Yarra Ranges are a vital carbon sink & the last remaining refuge for everything that is Country - wildlife, water, people & plants.
RAKALI CLIENT: KINGSTON CITY COUNCIL STATUS: incomplete
Rakali captures the essence of this playful intelligent animal that is resourceful and an excellent swimmer. To the design team, rakalis symbolise resilience, playfulness and fun as it emerges from the water to chase its companion, resilience in face of threat and danger, adaptability as it navigates both fresh and saltwater habitats, and the vital role that a peak predator plays in stabilising ecological systems.
Cultural and ecological significance of the Rakali The rakali which means 'water mouse with golden belly', is a large semi-aquatic rodent living between freshwater and saltwater, linking the two aquatic environments and symbolising their interconnectivity.
As a highly intelligent apex predator, their role in the environment is similar to that of otters, feeding on crabs, shellfish and other invertebrates. Rakali are one of Australia's largest rodents, characterised by webbed hind feet, white tip on tail, long blunt nose and thick waterproof fur and a tail that acts as a rudder when swimming. This species was heavily hunted for its pelt until protective legislation was introduced. The main threats to the rakali now are habitat alteration, swamp drainage and predation by introduced animals such as cats and foxes.
Rakali play a vital ecological role in controlling introduced pests like black rats and in other parts of Australia, cane toads. The rakali features in the Wurundjeri creation story about how the platypus was created. In the story, the rakali and duck fell in love and eloped. Their children were born as dulia wurrung (the platypus).
Bour-deet’ (cumbungi, bulrush or Typha) honours Wurundjeri women and their work caring for Wurundjeri Biik (Country). Bour-deet is an important plant for Wurundjeri women having provided food and fibre for millennia.
This sculpture is a part of Art &Sole, a series of new interconnected walks in Lilydale.
The artists were inspired by riparian plants that act as biofiltrators, cleaning toxins from our waterways. The sculpture honours a small waterway flowing from the industrial estate, and in the creek-bed grows Bour-deet (Typha) and Phragmites (common reed) which provide rich habitat to local fauna.
Swathes of Lomandra planted below the sculpture, will provide food and shelter to local animals and providing tactile opportunity with another important fibre (and food) plant.
BAGURRK BIIK (Women Country) YARRA RANGES CIVIC CENTRE Eleven meeting rooms and play space CLIENT: YARRA RANGES STATUS: complete
We are passionate about the Balit Bagurrk, the strong Aboriginal women of our community, both past and present, and our emerging Aboriginal women leaders. We are passionate about the entities that belong to Country. Therefore we have honoured our Balit Bagurrk in the following way: Each room is named in Woi-wurrung language after a plant which symbolises women’s relationship to Country through food, fibre, healing, tools, caring, protection and play. Each plant symbolises the interconnectivity and generosity between Ancestors, earth, water, cultural practice, women and their work, women and their spiritual connection to Country, and the interconnectivity of all entities that belong to Country, which includes the precious and fragile habitats of the Yarra Ranges, home to many significant non-human species, beautiful waterways and the living Biik itself. Plants play a role of welcoming others to Country and in this way the rooms would be places of cultural daily welcoming of Yarra Ranges staff members to land and the Civic Centre edifice. Aunty Kim Wandin has carefully selected the following plants based on the depth of her cultural connection to them. In Aunty Kim’s words, these plants are intertwined with everything that is Country (Biik). They are deeply embedded in our cultural practices reminding us that we are one and the same. They give us self.’ Thank you to Interpretation Australia for the National award recognising our work.
iUK (EEL) TRAP BRUNGERGALK (WATT'S RIVER PARKLAND) HEALESVILLE CLIENT: SHIRE YARRA RANGES Status: short term installation for ephemeral work, compete
For this Art Attack project Aunty Kim created a site specific ephemeral work titled iuk (eel) trap. The work contains the spirit of her Ancestors reflecting their strength and resilience, and was suspended over a small tributary of Brungergalk (Watt's River). This project was funded by Shire Yarra Ranges.