Title: Wun.ngul Yayan Mudyala (Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow)
University of Newcastle
Artist: Frances Belle Parker (Yaegl)
Date: 2022
Medium: Acrylic on Linen
Size: 100cm x 150cm

This work was commissioned by Newcastle University Library.
This work has been created as a calming, respectful acknowledgement and homage to the traditional custodians of the country in which this campus stands – that of the Awabakal people. It acknowledges the wrongs of the past while also acknowledging the legacies of those who fought hard for all Aboriginal people. The past is represented through designs and markings that sit at the back of the work, shining through as a washed background, or painted over designs that become evident only on close inspection.

The work also presents a positive and hopeful today, and an even stronger future through calming colours and symbols.

There are lots of different elements used throughout this work to tell a story that represents all people. The colours used have all been purposefully chosen for their calming, earthy qualities with no area dominating another. Across the artwork are clear vertical lines that serve to represent today’s-built environment around Newcastle – the office and apartment blocks, houses, power lines, and the industrial areas – but they also merge into the natural landscape that lies beneath and around the city. This leads us to the tree on the far right of the work. This tree stands as a knowledge tree representing the University and the thirst for knowledge that all who attend seek to quench. Various dots run along the trunk and onto the branches representing the various pathways of students. The tree is mostly green to represent new life, fresh beginnings, hope for the future and a clear environmental stance. 

Dashes running in a circular pattern away from the tree and across the work represent all people from all walks of life coming together. While they share a similar path, each are on their own journey. There are a number of different symbols all through the work, from dashes to circles, straight lines and wavy lines. These symbols show the huge diversity across all campuses in wildlife and people. 

On the far left of the work are some colourful rainbow lines clearly defined in oval capsules. These serve as an acknowledgement of the University library, a pillar of the institution. Rainbow colours are used here to also to represent the rainbow stairs, a symbol of inclusion for all people.  

Underneath the knowledge tree and running across the work is blue waterway, dashes representing movement and change. It also represents the waterways in and around this beautiful port city.

Down the bottom left are earthy, calming colours representing the earth, grounding the entire work. Markings run across this area to represent animals, humans, history, change, and movement. It also represents the wider community outside of the University who, ever present, are just as critical to its success.