Artist’s lasting imprint

ARTIST Sandra Hill says her Wellington Square stolen generation artwork is “the most important work I have ever done over the last 30 years”.

Ms Hill, a member of the Stolen Generations, unveiled Mia Mias this week and said in a statement: “I understand what it’s like to survive that experience and the things that you hold forever in your heart. I understand what needs to be said through art.

“My whole public art career has been moving towards this moment in time. The whole meaning is about bringing them home.”

The work features five mia mias, traditional dwellings, surrounding a central beacon representing feathers from male and female red-tailed black cockatoos. The final touches were made as Ms Hill and her grandchildren left footprints in cement under the mia mias.

“The feathers represent the time, and I couldn’t think of a better way to recognise those stolen children than with these feathers. When it lights up, it acts as a beacon to help them find their way home.”

Perth council funded the artwork as part of the Wellington Square upgrades, consulting with Yokai, the Bringing Them Home Committee WA, and the broader Aboriginal community on what they’d like to see there. 

Aboriginal people have a long connection to the space that was once a wetlands before being drained and named for Arthur Wellesley, and in recent decades the square has been the site of many May 26 Sorry Day commemorations. 

Perth lord mayor Basil Zempilas said “Wellington Square represents cultural 

and spiritual significance for Nyoongar people, linking the past and the present, and we couldn’t more delighted to see this artwork tell a powerful and poignant story for all members of the community”.

by DAVID BELL

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