Melbourne Art Trams
Ancient waterways continue to flow beneath the concrete foundations of a constantly transforming city. Old gums, scarred with the lines of canoes, stand tall alongside towering skyscrapers. Freshwater and saltwater meet in estuaries, brought together by the turning moon’s tides.
While the city is changing, Country and First Peoples culture is all around us. For 2021 we celebrate six First Peoples artists from the city to the regions. Each artist will be responsible for the transformation of a Melbourne tram, which will make its way through the city daily. The collected works speak to themes of caring for Country and the diverse ecologies of First Peoples lands, to personal connections to identity and journeying.
- Deanne Gilson (Wadawurrung)
- Thomas Marks (Wotjobaluk and Gunaikurnai)
- Aunty Rochelle Patten (Yorta Yorta, Dhudhuroa and WembaWemba)
- Jarra Karalinar Steel (Boonwurrung and WembaWemba)
- Ray Thomas (Brabrawooloong Gunnai)
- Aunty Zeta Thomson (Wurundjeri and Yorta Yorta)
Curated by Kimberley Moulton, the six selected artworks speak to diverse themes of environmental ecologies and caring for Country, to personal stories of journeying and family, and reflect on the history and cultural heritage of First Peoples in the landscape. As a collective of moving artworks all six share with us the strength and beauty of creative cultural expression and the interwoven connections and continuous cultures of First Peoples in Victoria.
Buy a Mookie tee, tote or raincoat
Share the knowledge and pay respect to First People’s ancestral spirits with this glow-int-the-dark long sleeve tee—created in respectful collaboration with Aunty Zeta Thomson (Wurundjeri/Yorta Yorta). Its locally made, using organic cotton with a design based on Thomson’s iconic 2021 MELBOURNE ART TRAMS work, Mookies Around the Waterhole.
“‘Mookie’ means spirit in Yorta Yorta. In our culture, visitors would call out to the Mookies of the Ancestors as they walked through the bush announcing that they were coming on to Country. They would meet and gather at sacred waterholes for cultural business. After the ceremony the travellers would begin their journey across Country to the next place, ‘galyan woka ngana buraya moya’—‘a beautiful place far, far away’. This work teaches us to respect Country and honour our Ancestors.” — Aunty Zeta Thomson
A portion of the profits will be donated to Aunty Zeta Thomson’s nominated charity, Wildlife Victoria.