NICHOLSON, Mandy (Wurundjeri-willam)
Wurundjeri Biik, yalinguth, yalingbu, yirramboi
[Wurundjeri Country, yesterday, today, tomorrow]
dyed wool and cotton tapestry
label, printed and inscribed in ink on cotton on reverse
Tapestry No: 2020/01 / Date: 2020 / Title: Wurundjeri Biik, yalinguth, yalingbu, yirramboi / Artist: [signed] M Nicholson / Weavers: [signed] Chris Cochius / Tim Gresham / AMY CORNALL / Cheryl Thornton / Size: H: 0.58m x W: 4.32m / Warp: cotton seine twine / Weft: wool / cotton
Commissioned by the City of Melbourne, 2020
Image created by the artist and woven by ATW weavers Chris Cochius, Amy Cornall, Tim Gresham and Cheryl Thornton at the Australian Tapestry Workshop, Melbourne
City of Melbourne Art and Heritage Collection
Mandy Nicholson, Wurundjeri Biik, yalinguth, yalingbu, yirramboi, [Wurundjeri Country, yesterday, today, tomorrow], 2021, Chris Cochius, Amy Cornall, Tim Gresham, Cheryl Thornton, Australian Tapestry Workshop
Conceived by Mandy Nicholson, this word-based artwork in Woiwurrung was made by Chris Cochius, Amy Cornall, Tim Gresham and Cheryl Thornton of the Australian Tapestry Workshop. It is a declaration of Aboriginal ownership of Naarm (Melbourne) and survival through history. Nicholson’s interest in reviving and translating Aboriginal languages, particularly her mother tongue, is at the heart of the vibrant textile, and points to the role language plays in expressing and sustaining culture across generations.
While language is central to the tapestry so too is Country. Nicholson pays tribute to the layered realms that make up Country and provide a deep spiritual link: Wurru Wurru Biik (Sky Country), Baanj Biik (Water Country), Biik-dui (On Country), Biik-ut (Below Country) – all interconnected and watched over by creator being Bunjil, from Tharangalk Biik, above the clouds.
Originally commissioned with no specific hanging location in mind, the work was upscaled to occupy the key entry position within the newly refurbished ground floor of the Melbourne Town Hall Administration Building. A cutting-off ceremony involving the artist, Lord Mayor Sally Capp and a handful of other invited guests was held at the Australian Tapestry Workshop on 10 December 2020.