Technology meets art in live painting collaboration for NAIDOC Week

Media release
09 July 2020

Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians across the country are being invited to call in via a live Zoom feed and help create a unique large-scale abstract artwork for Deakin’s innovative NAIDOC Week celebration this Thursday.

The live-streamed collaborative painting project led by Kiri Wicks and Dr Jenny Murray-Jones, staff and artists at the National Indigenous Knowledges Education Research Innovation (NIKERI) Institute, will headline the Deakin-led event before other NAIDOC Week celebrations are held 8 to 15 November.

Working together on a 4m x 2m canvas, the two artists will paint for over seven hours in the NIKERI art studio at the Waurn Ponds Campus in Geelong.

NIKERI invites all Australians to 'zoom in' anytime between 10am and 5pm Thursday and join this collaborative live painting experience by either observing or contributing their story to the artists who can consider how to represent it artistically. The completed artwork will be proudly displayed at the NIKERI Institute.

Art lovers can also tune in to the live Zoom feed to hear the stories and watch the artwork take shape in real time as the artists use topographical map lines to weave together shared conversations about connections, Country and identity.

Associate Professor Gabrielle Fletcher, Director of NIKERI Institute, said the event is part of the Institute’s ongoing commitment to honouring and sharing Indigenous knowledge, culture and values.

"NAIDIC 2020 celebrates the past, present and future and our place as First Nations Peoples, well before 1770 and well after now," Associate Professor Fletcher said.

"This year's theme, 'Always Was, Always Will Be' invites all Australians to fully embrace the true history of this country – some 65,000+ years – and the recognition that we have the oldest continuing cultures in the world and this is everyone's history, knowledge and ingenuity.

"This richness and diversity of sustainability, connection and respect of land, waterways and airways and all things is our continuing story that is held, told and lived."

Kiri Wicks, Indigenous artist and Partnerships Coordinator at NIKERI, explained that with most of Deakin’s NAIDOC Week events rescheduled to November due to COVID-19, the collaboration via Zoom is the perfect way for NIKERI to safely share and celebrate during this important week.

"The experiences with the 'Black Lives Matter' movement has triggered many hurtful memories and emotions and we thought it would be an opportunity to hold this event now to connect us," Mrs Wicks said.

"This enables our staff to celebrate and educate all staff, students and community, not just in Geelong and Victoria but into our national community, on the rich history and culture by sharing stories through art.

"We'll be asking our callers things like 'what colours do you see when you think of home?' It is about hearing and listening to people's experiences and a chance to celebrate the culture by a unique symbolism through art and storytelling. It is also celebrating our unique identities and symbolising connection to our Deakin-wide community.

"This LIVE painted artwork has four important elements that I love. A contemporary version of the oldest art, Aboriginal Art; storytelling, from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous voices; collaboration; and connection. I am really looking forward to hearing some stories and excited to share my own."

Connecting to Country through Art: Collaborative Live Painting Experience
When: Thursday 9 July, 10am – 5pm (AEST). All are welcome to drop in and out of the seven hour session.
Where: Zoom (

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