Sculpture honours unbroken creative thread of First Nation women

Brendan Rees

A striking sculpture has been unveiled outside the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre (QVWC) in the heart of CBD, celebrating the stories and creativity of First Nations women.

The 4.5 metre sculpture, titled Creative Resilience, which depicts a forearm holding up a woven basket, was created by artists from Ngardang Girri Kalat Mimini – a collective of First Nations women and non-binary artists from across Victoria.

The basket was made of Victorian grasses with a few rows woven by each artist. It began as a basket about 10 centimetres high and was transformed into the much larger copper coated version.

During a ceremonial launch of the artwork on May 6, Minister for Women Natalie Hutchins cut a floral wreath wrapped around the sculpture, which stands in the forecourt of the QVWC in Lonsdale St.



“This striking, unforgettable artwork is a fitting testament to the strength and creativity of First Nations women, past and present, and a celebration of First Nations artists,” Ms Hutchins said.


Creative Resilience calls on us to consider a constant and unbroken thread that stretches back through millennia to honour First Nations women as not only keepers of wisdom and knowledge but as artists and creators.


The six artists involved in the work were Annie Brigdale, Lorraine Brigdale, Janet Bromley, Trina Dalton-Oogjes, Georgia Macguire and Glenda Nicholls.

They drew on their networks throughout Victoria and engaged with a cultural reference group led by Wurundjeri Elder Aunty D during creation of the work. The piece was also supported by visual artist and lecturer Yorta Yorta/Baraparapa woman Dr Jenny Murray-Jones.

Weaving is a significant cultural practice for First Nations women, and the artwork symbolises the strength and creativity of Aboriginal women in south-eastern Australia who have supported and nurtured families and communities over tens of thousands of years.

Artist Georgia Macguire said the sculpture paid tribute to a “heritage of continuous creativity and ingenuity in support of community and cultural survival”.

Creative Resilience is the third of six public artworks being unveiled to showcase Victorian women’s achievements as part of the state government’s $1 million Victorian Women’s Public Art Program. 

Of the 581 statues across Melbourne, only 10 depict women. The program aims to address the underrepresentation of women and their achievements with statues, sculptures, and other enduring public art.

At the start of this year, the City of Melbourne passed a motion ensure more women were immortalised as statues in recognition of their contributions to society. •


Caption: A 4.5-metre-high sculpture created by Ngardang Girri Kalat Mimini artists has been unveiled at the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre.

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