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Kabi Kabi artwork takes important place in city centre

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A new sculpture reflecting a story significant to the region’s First Nations people will welcome visitors to the Sunshine Coast city hall.

Dura Gunga (Mullet and Sea Eagle) was unveiled by mayor Rosanna Natoli yesterday who heralded it as a celebration of the region’s indigenous culture and an important landmark in the Maroochydore CBD.

The 4.5m tall sculpture by Kabi Kabi artist and cultural leader Lyndon Davis tells the story of the mullet hunting season and the guidance of the sea eagle, Gunga.

The Kabi Kabi people observed the red stringy bark’s shedding to determine when the diamond ccale sea mullet would be running.

Mayor Natoli said the sculpture embodied the rich cultural narrative of the Kabi Kabi people.

“Public art is such a powerful medium for storytelling and cultural preservation, and this piece stands as a reminder of the enduring legacy of our Sunshine Coast traditional custodians,” she said.

Dura Gunga reflects the nomadic lifestyle of Aboriginal people, their deep connection to the land and the intricate knowledge passed down through generations.

“I can’t think of a more fitting tribute, especially following the recent recognition of native title for the Kabi Kabi people.”

Dura Gunga, by Lyndon Davis, now stands outside the Sunshine Coast city hall building.

Sunshine Coast Council senior curator (collections) Nina Shadforth said the new work was an outcome of a mentorship with renowned Torres Strait Islander artist and curator Brian Robinson.

“Under Brian’s guidance, Kabi Kabi artists Lyndon Davis, Maurice Mickelo and Hope O’Chin were mentored to develop a concept design for the city hall entrance,” Ms Shadforth said.

“Each artist developed new skills in public arts that they can now apply to their own artistic practice and future public art opportunities.

“Lyndon Davis, whose art is deeply connected to the land, was selected by a panel of skilled experts to be commissioned.

“In this piece, his use of traditional geometrical designs and patterns pays homage to his cultural heritage and his ability to tell the stories of the Kabi Kabi people and region.”

Dura Gunga can be viewed at Lightning Lane, Maroochydore.

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