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Oodgeroo Noonuccal by Vienna Mesh

Oodgeroo Noonuccal

Vienna Mesh

About the work

This portrait features ‘Oodgeroo Noonuccal’ (aka Kath Walker) referencing a young Noonuccal at the 1949 Youth Charter Conference. Noonuccal was a significant historic figure to Brisbane’s history, being a black rights activist, environmentalist, poet, and educator. She dedicated her life to being a voice for her culture and representing their relationship with the land. In this portrait I wanted to represent a young ambitious Noonuccal. She is being washed away with the ocean, symbolising her passion and connection to the land. Noonuccal was a member of the Brisbane Realist Writers Group, an influential group challenging traditions of Australian Literature. Noonuccal used her art to challenge embedded racial prejudices, becoming the first Indigenous published author. As a Sunshine Coast resident my whole life, my family is continually drawn to and engaging with Brisbane. Having close family originating from there, to me Brisbane City is an opportunity to connect with our culture.