On Friday 13 October, ACAP held a special unveiling of its new artwork, Tikilara – Spirit of Place. The mural, which forms as part of an Acknowledgement of Country at the entry to the new Melbourne campus, was created by Simone Thomson, a proud Woi-Wurrung Wurundjeri and Yorta-Yorta woman. The artwork was commissioned to celebrate 40 years of ACAP in 2023, and its Melbourne campus moving to the Kmart Centre on Bourke Street in December 2022.
The unveiling included a moving Welcome to Country by Aunty Zeta Thomson, a respected Elder and descendant of the Yarra Yarra Clan of the Wurundjeri people; followed by a welcome to ACAP by Executive General Manager Education, Lucy Schulz; and an introduction to Tikilara by Simone Thomson.
Simone explained what it meant to be involved, and her creative process for the new artwork: “I was delighted to be commissioned by ACAP to produce a significant piece that would represent what the college stood for, through a cultural lens,” she said.
“Any opportunity to impart cultural knowledge to non-Indigenous people is positive, and it’s important that as Indigenous people, we continue to have a voice and are able to tell truth and storytelling through art.” - Simone Thomson
Some of the other key elements in the artwork, Simone added, illustrate ACAP’s diverse students and principles of lifelong learning: “I focused on the overseas aspect of ACAP’s international student cohort, being under one sky from both sides of the water, and coming together on Wurundjeri Country. The healing waters of the Yarra feature centrally throughout the work, and there is also a band of stars that crosses the river, which symbolise the accessibility of ACAP to students.”
This year marks ACAP’s 40th year of delivering outstanding higher education in human services across applied psychology; management and IT; law and justice; and the Professional Year Program for international graduates. ACAP CEO George Garrop applauded the new artwork, and its wider educational awareness usage for international and domestic students.
“This inspiring piece by Simone provides our students with the opportunity to learn more about our history, while showing respect and acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the lands where ACAP Melbourne staff and students learn, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation,” Mr Garrop said. “In our 40th year, we remain committed to delivering practical education and human-centric skills for our students, so they can impact the world for good.”