Designs merge modern transport with indigenous art

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STUDENTS at CIT in Bruce are reconnecting with the Ngunnawal tradition by redesigning something that’s iconically Canberra – two of its old concrete bus stops.

Two of the cylindrical bus shelters on Vowels Crescent underwent a redesign over the past few weeks, bringing together about 10 students in a cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural project.

The new designs, which reflect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditions, better reflect the diversity of the CIT campus, say staff, who hope it will also spark a conversation.

Cyndy Newman, who teaches at the Yurauna Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Educational Centre at CIT, which designed the new shelters, says: “Bringing communities together is really important, especially the indigenous and non-indigenous people of the ACT. 

“We’ve had so many people walking past and asking questions. I think it’s brought more of an understanding to non-indigenous people, especially, and incorporating the two and bringing them together.”

CIT teachers, from left… Libby Baily, Cyndy Newman and Stuart Anderson

The new design merges modern transport and tradition with circle designs that reflect traditional meeting places with connected lines that represent travelling lines, says Yurauna arts student Troy Potts, who helped design the shelters.

Inside the shelter, the walls are adorned with the images of spirit people that look after travellers, as well as the students’ hand prints, he says.

From left: Yurauna student Troy Potts and CIT community development student Emma Ulrich

Community development student Emma Ulrich, who helped execute the project, says the shelters are a great chance to bring to the light the talent of students on Ngunnawal land, but also shared the feelings of her teachers.

“People walking past – even if they don’t know what the symbols mean – they’re going to show some interest and learn something about it,” she says. 

Troy added: “Maybe they will ask some questions and we’ll be able to fill them in.”

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