Two people standing with artwork

Arts & Culture

Wiradjuri artists unveil new Riverside artwork

Published: 02 Jun 2021 9:53am

An artwork created by professional Wiradjuri artists Owen Lyons and Teisha Robinson will feature prominently beside the Riverside basketball court which is set to undergo a major upgrade.

The artwork will be reproduced on a vinyl wrap and installed on a modified shipping container, to be located alongside two new 3x3 basketball courts, and to be utilised at competitions and other events at the Wagga Beach precinct during the year.

The new courts will be built to Olympic standard in place of the current full-size asphalt court and feature the Federation Internationale de Basketball Amateur (FIBA) approved rubber playing surface.

Council’s Director Community Janice Summerhayes said the involvement of First Nations youth gave the project a community-wide feel.

"The significance of the river, culturally and to country, is highlighted in the design along with young people’s thoughts of respect and equity,” Ms Summerhayes said.

"This space provides our youth with a place where they can engage in sport, reflect on the design, and have real social connection."

The artists have worked extensively with Wiradjuri and First Nations youth at local high schools discussing Wiradjuri symbols which reflect respect and unity in the community.

The high schools involved were Kooringal High School, Mater Dei Catholic College, Kildare Catholic College, Mount Austin High School and the Indie School Wagga Wagga. Students worked on designs and their concepts were incorporated in the final artwork.

“The artwork is just beautiful and will bring meaning and vibrance to the project, providing a sense of community and coming together,” Ms Summerhayes said.

"Having the artwork in place at the court continues a lifelong message to all of equity and respect in sport, in the community and with each other, all the time."

Artists Teisha Robinson and Owen Lyons collaborated to create the work. It was the first time they had worked together, bringing their own concepts to the project and integrating those with a range of elements relevant to the area.

“The river features prominently as this is a spiritual place where Aboriginal people can go to reflect. There‘s the wildlife and the flora … it means a great deal to us,” Mr Lyons said.

Ms Robinson said working with the high school groups was a memorable part of the project.

“I loved connecting with the kids,” Ms Robinson said.

“They had some great ideas and being able to bring those to life in the artwork, while keeping a focus on equity and respect, was rewarding for me.”

This project has been part of theDVproject:2650 which has worked towards primary prevention of domestic violence by creating a respectful and inclusive community for everyone.

It is expected the courts, and the artwork-enhanced shipping container, will be finished in time for this year’s 3x3 tournament in November-December.