Kabi Kabi/Gubbi Gubbi (Sunshine Coast) Wiradjuri (NSW) woman, Dr Bianca Beetson has been named as the winner of Dubbo Regional Council’s (DRC’s) Kinetic Art competition – a nationwide search to find an Indigenous artist with a strong connection to the Wiradjuri nation to design one of the largest public art piece in regional New South Wales. Dr Beetson is a visual artist who works in a diverse range of media including painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, photography and public art.
“I identify as Wiradjuri and have family connections to the Dubbo Indigenous community through the Beetson/Majick family lines. I also have family living in Wellington who are descendants of my Great Aunty Topsy Taylor. I see this as an opportunity to reconnect to country and develop ongoing reciprocal relationships with the Wiradjuri community,” said Dr Beetson.
All artists were required to adhere to a theme of community, country, connection: finding common ground, and through her winning concept, Dr Beetson says she contemplated the process of asking permission to enter Country. Her proposed work uses imagery expressive of Country, cultural knowledge and communities. The unique design was developed through Cyanotyping, a process using sun – the giver of life – to develop the image. Using kangaroo grass seeds, which are native seeds that grow along the three Dubbo rivers, Dr Beetson created a pattern representative of a river.
“The river represents the Wiradjuri people and the communities connected to and by the three rivers and its tributaries. The river also being a giver to life to the community and the central life blood of the community. Without the water, we would not survive,” said Dr Beetson.
Dr Beetson’s art will be displayed on the side of the Telstra Exchange building, which will be located in the Old Dubbo Gaol Heritage Plaza. UAP has been engaged by DRC to help with construction and installation of the artwork.
DRC’s Cultural Development Coordinator Jessica Moore says Dr Beetson’s work is a great representation of community coming together, after a strong field of applicants initially applied for the paid opportunity.
“We were very excited to have 25 submissions come in for this competition. Through our assessment process we reduced that to three really strong contenders and each artwork was very unique and very distinctive and very different from each other, so it made the final selection process really challenging, but also really exciting,” said Ms Moore.
The project has been funded by the NSW Government’s Regional Growth Environment and Tourism fund, with a budget of $5 million for the Old Dubbo Heritage Plaza development. It’s part of the overall Destination Dubbo: International Ready project, which the NSW Government provided $10 million in funding.
“I want to thank all the people who took part, for me it was a really enjoyable process and Bianca Beetson, I thought was an outstanding candidate from the very first time I saw some of her vision, and there were some other fantastic candidates as well, but Bianca I think took a very unique and special look at what we have around this region,” said Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders.