Bus 982 in Aboriginal Livery

Canberrans should look out for two ACTION buses covered with goannas, bluebells, bogong moths and handprints.

The indigenous art on the multicoloured buses was done under the auspices of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Centre.

A member of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body, Paul House, said the artwork represented country and creation stories from the ACT region.

He painted the goannas on one bus and said the goanna, or ”girrawah”, was his totem.

”When I was young my grandfather gave me that name, [which has been] passed on through generations, so I actually painted my story,” he said.

He said the bogong moths on the other bus represented the story of the bogong moth, or ”goree”, that travelled the country, carried by a whirlwind, or ”wingguraminya”.

”[The moth] started in Ngurmal country, came through Ngambri country, followed the songlines and the bloodlines along the Ngambri River and then came out through Jerrabomberra and down into Ngarog country,” he said.

Mr House was one of five senior artists working on the project and said it was rewarding to work with the eight children and young people who helped.

”It was a pleasure to work with the younger generation because it’s about the transfer of knowledge.

”Because the elders are transferring knowledge … it created an opportunity to earn respect and to show respect.

”And we’re really honoured to be able to show our culture and demonstrate our connection to our land and our country, and demonstrate our rights to speak for country and express our cultural expression of country,’ he said.

Ngambri-Ngunnawal elder Matilda House, who coordinated the project, said the artwork was unique to the ACT area.

”We don’t do dots and cross-hatchings: what you see is a full painting, a full artwork,” she said.

Minister for Territory and Municipal Services John Hargreaves launched the project yesterday.

”What these buses represent is a very tangible expression of the journey that the non-indigenous and the indigenous peoples in Canberra are actually going through at the moment towards true reconciliation and a true embracement of each other,” he said.

Written by Sarina Talip – Canberra Times.

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