Indigenous artwork targeted by vandals in Wandin East

The water tank mural painted by First Nations artist Amanda Wright, found in Wandin East, was vandalised late last month. Picture: YARRA RANGES COUNCIL.

Yarra Ranges Council is saddened and disgusted that vandals have targeted recently completed indigenous artwork on water tanks in Wandin East.

The artwork which was completed December 2023 was attacked by vandals and reported to the council on 29 January.

The council is supporting police with their investigation into this prejudiced motivated criminal damage and the graffiti has been removed.

Council officers have been in contact with the artist who is also shocked and saddened by this behaviour.

Yarra Ranges Mayor, Sophie Todorov, condemned the criminal damage and said the council has a zero tolerance approach to all forms of racism, discrimination and vilification.

“We were all so disappointed to hear about this pointless damage to a beautiful piece of artwork. We know that the majority of our community support these artworks and we’ve had great feedback about them,” Cr Todorov said.

The damaged water tanks are one of several tanks across Yarra Ranges that have been transformed into works of art that pay homage to the rich histories and cultures of the local First Nations People, as part of a Yarra Ranges Council public art project.

Council’s Indigenous Development Coordinator, Garry Detez said the project which has been delivered by the council’s Bushlands Team and partners with the Indigenous Advisory Committee, aims to foster a deeper connection between indigenous culture and the community.

“This public art project, particularly focused on water tanks situated on the Country of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations, showcases Council’s commitment to local Indigenous heritage,” he said.

“These water tanks not only serve as visual representations of the area’s natural environment but also stand as symbols, celebrating the vibrant culture and stories that have shaped the Yarra Ranges and serve as a reminder of the enduring significance of the regions Indigenous history.”

Artist Amanda Wright said the story of the artwork comes from people.

“People. The people are the heart and soul, stars and moon our ancestors and our future generations. I’ve chosen to incorporate people in my mural in their ceremony ochre to show the relationship between the people and the space, nature, in which the water tank is positioned,” she said.

“I also chose two children to show how important our future generations with the landscape, within nature. I choose the manna gum leaves to paint, not just that they are abundant in the area of Wandin but they are important to the Wurundjeri people and the animals. I’ve chosen to paint the background black because once I paint the people and put the gold aura around them they will stand out more’

Anyone with information about the damage is encouraged to contact Monbulk Police.