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Winning design for Brisbane's new Indigenous diggers memorial

Source: NITV

A design by artists John Smith Gumbula and Liam Hardy will be constructed as a memorial for Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander veterans in Brisbane's Anzac Square early-to-mid next year. The memorial is to be made of bronze.

Smith Gumbala and Hardy's scale prototype was chosen by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dedicated Memorial Committee Queensland (ATSIDMCQ) yesterday morning from a short list of three other contenders.

"The brief was to shed light on a previously untold history of Indigenous service men and women in the war effort and the people who died in that effort," Hardy told the Brisbane Times.

As described by ATSIDMCQ, the winning sculpture shows four Indigenous service personnel from Army, Air Force, Navy, and Medical Service; behind them are two dancers "sending out powerful tribal spiritual protection energies to our men and women who have gone to war".

Co-Chair of ATSIDMCQ, Lorraine Hatton, told NITV the Smith Gumbala - Hardy design was selected by the panel after consulting a variety of factors - art forums, comments from Brisbane Museum where the works were featured for two months, as well as online web surveys open to the public.

Hatton was also sure to emphasis the winning artwork is a "work-in-progress" piece and may need to be altered slightly before constructed in Anzac Square.

“It's still a work-in-progress as we need to liase with the Heritgate Council and Brisbane City Council to ensure the sculpture fits the fabric of Anzac Square," she said.

The second artist, Smith Gumbala who of the Wakka Wakka tribe, said the hoped to "build bridges" through this art work.

"It is important in maintaining and promoting the diverse, spiritual and sacred significance of our Aboriginal people," he said.

The ATSIDMCQ opened entries for memorial designs last year of which the four finalists were present to a panel last December.

Over 1,000 Indigenous men and women served alongside the ANZACS during World War I. At the time, Indigenous people were not accounted for as legitimate citizens of Australia.



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