Announcing the ChangeFest 2024 Local Artwork
ChangeFest and local hosts Hands Up Mallee and Connected Beginnings Mildura are excited to announce and share the artwork of Barkindji artist Hope Kuchel as the successful local artist for ChangeFest24 in Mildura.
Hope is a local artist with deep connections to the lands of the Latji Latji people (also referred to as Latje Latje). Her artwork brings a strong local identity to ChangeFest24 and reflects the local Country where the event will take place. Her creation is centred around these themes:
- Reflects our place (Sunraysia community)
- Celebrates our community’s identity and connection
- Represents our children, young people and families
Expressions of Interest were called for earlier this year seeking Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Artists who live in, and have a strong connection to the Sunraysia community. The artwork and its elements will be used for the co-branding and local identity for the ChangeFest24 event in Mildura, in the lead up, during, and following ChangeFest24.
We give deep gratitude to the Kutalayna Collective who innovated the idea of centring local art and artists in the national place-based event through their role as local hosts of ChangeFest23.
About Local Artist Hope Kuchel
“I believe it’s important to maintain connections with not only your community but the ones you are guests on.”
I am a proud Barkindji woman raised on Latji Latji Country in Mildura. I’ve always participated in community events whether that be cultural workshops, gatherings and advocated for our community in Mildura.
I work for Koorie Youth Council so my time is spent between Melbourne and Mildura but I believe this creates a platform for me to connect young people to our work that is state-wide but also emphasise the strengths of small regional communities.
I have a strong family who are always involved and mentoring me about culture, connecting and community wellbeing. My mum Aunty Ada Peterson and Uncle Peter Peterson are some of those people but in Melbourne those are people such as Indi Clarke, Bonnie Dukakis, Aunty Di Kerr etc.
About the ChangeFest 2024 Artwork
This artwork presents a vibrant and rich image of the Mildura town and its community identity. The backdrop, in beautiful orange and yellow colours, symbolises the natural landscape of the region, while the recurrent pattern signifies a weaving of Aboriginal culture and community (inspired by the weaving I do on top of drawing/painting).
The repetitive Murray cod in the background, swimming in harmony, signify unity and a collective moment. A community moving forward together. It’s also a nod to the Murray river through the movement which resembles water flowing in the Murray.
The central image features multiple different animals coming together. Although, with their own borders, understandings and experiences, they are formed in a circle to represent a meeting place that is safe for everyone and what they bring to the table.
The eagle more closely represents the Barkindji people, the neighbours across the river as well as young people who have big aspirations about their community.
The turtle represents our sea Country people, who might be travelling far to join the conversation but also represents our older generation, our Elders – as turtles to me hold wisdom and knowledge, they are the protectors of our young people.
The snake, representative of cycles and people or communities undergoing change to grow.
The ring tailed possum represents family, as community should be about forming connections and coming together, which our Aboriginal communities does by bridging partnerships but also to come together to help each other in times of need.
The Goanna is a powerful animal so it signifies strength and adaptability, known to survive in diverse environments across Australia it is resilient like our communities.
The animals themselves represent everyone, young, Elders and families, as we all come together as a community.
The artwork hopes to display the core objective of people coming together to share knowledge and take in the rich culture of our Mildura community. Through a warm and bright colour palette I hope it radiates a sense of belonging in the warm Mildura region.
ChangeFest is supported by the national backbone team, Collaboration for Impact (CFI).