SAHMRI mural spotlights science across millennia

13 Feb 2024
SAHMRI mural spotlights science across millennia

SAHMRI today officially unveiled a giant public mural dedicated to Indigenous contributions to STEMM over the past tens of thousands of years.

Titled ‘Wardlipari’, the Indigenous STEMM Mural spans approximately 88m², covering the entire outer area of the North Terrace-adjacent CSIRO premises at the ‘Cheesegrater’.

The graphic piece was created by Ngarrindjeri and Kaurna artist Allan Sumner, who says it describes the relationship that Miyurna (Kaurna people) have with Karrawirra Pari (River Torrens).

“The mural showcases Traditional Owners as the first scientists on these lands and waters of the Miyurna and recognises the ongoing contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to science,” he said.

SAHMRI Board Chair, the Hon Hieu Van Le AC, says Wardlipari is another public statement from the institute about the value it places on Indigenous health and striving for Reconciliation.

“Aboriginal health priorities have formed the basis of SAHMRI’s program of work since our inception in 2009,” he said.

Wardliparingga - SAHMRI's Aboriginal Health Equity Theme - has built its research foundations on the ancient knowledge and wisdom of Australia's first scientists. Its research is informed by South Australian Aboriginal communities' health priorities, actively reversing the colonial trend of Indigenous people being the subjects of research to become partners and leaders in research.”

Indigenous mural opening
Indigenous STEMM mural artist Allan Sumner (3rd from right) at the mural launch with SAHMRI Chair, the Hon. Hieu Van Le AC, SAHMRI Executive Director Professor Maria Makrides, his wife Amy Sumner, Kaurna Elder Uncle Frank Wanganeen and Wardliparingga Co-Leader Kim Morey
Wardlipari comprises elements that celebrate Indigenous knowledge

Warlipari is a visually stunning mural containing a variety of distinctive elements – Munana, the Dreaming ancestor who climbed up to the sky; Ngayirda Kardi, the Emu in the Sky; and Bakalti, a traditional Kaurna bark shield. These elements and more are woven together by the Timeline of Miyurna Knowledges, representing learning from the past and now, together into the future.

The mural project was devised and delivered by SAHMRI’s Reconciliation Action Plan Committee with support from the institute’s Wardliparingga theme, Indigenous Collective and Executive.

It was made possible through a grant from Inspiring South Australia’s Making Science Visible program and the cooperation of the CSIRO to display it on its premises. Bowden Print Group provided the expertise to create and install the 24 separate decals that comprise the mural.

For more information about Wardlipari visit here.

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