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UC student unveils Indigenous art piece at Ngunnawal Centre

Elly Mackay

19 July 2023: A vibrant piece of Indigenous art created by a University of Canberra student was unveiled at the Ngunnawal Centre on campus earlier this week.

The work – located on a pillar at the Centre – is the third to be completed in the series of artworks unveiled each year to celebrate NAIDOC Week. It was painted by Narungga and Kaurna woman Alicia Mohamed-Engelhardt, who was directed and inspired by Ngunnawal woman Delephene Fraser.

Ms Fraser is a University of Canberra alumna with a Bachelor of Australian Politics and Public Policy and is currently undertaking her Honours at the University. She also works as a Lecturer in the Faculty of Business, Government and Law.

Titled Standing on Giants, Ms Mohamed-Engelhardt said her work represents the 2023 NAIDOC Week theme of ‘For Our Elders’ – encouraging a moment to pause and reflect on the shoulders of past, present and emerging Elders who have created a space for us all to stand on Ngunnawal land.

"Del [Delephene] and I had a conversation about our different journeys along different lands through different Mobs’ areas into the University,” Ms Mohamed-Engelhardt said.

“And that’s the centre of where we all are today, on Ngunnawal land. The different track marks represent the different totems and animals of different Nations.”

The base of the pillar contains the ‘For Our Elders’ wording, with the theme recognising the roles Elders have played, and continue to play, in our communities and families.

Both of the previous pillar artworks completed in 2021 – by Aunty Jenni Kemarre Martiniello – and in 2022 – by Richie Allen – also reflect the respective NAIDOC Week themes of those years.

Ngunnawal Centre Manager Jayde Frail said it is extremely fitting for such a powerful piece of artwork to be located in a prominent position on campus.

“We [the Ngunnawal Centre] are literally at what will be the centre of the campus in 20 years, according to the UC Master Plan,” Ms Frail said.

“I just think it is very fitting.”

Ms Mohamed-Engelhardt is studying a Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science (Medical Imaging) and is set to graduate at the end of next year.

She is an active participant at the Ngunnawal Centre and works casually in an administrative role at the Centre.