Gumbaynggir artist Aretha Brown paints an eco-friendly mural in Melbourne to explore Indigenous culture and the role of Elders in the community.
Stephanie Corsetti

19 Apr 2021 - 3:39 PM  UPDATED 19 Apr 2021 - 3:40 PM

A striking black and white mural has been capturing the attention of people living in Melbourne as the city reopens, showcasing youth Aboriginal identity.

20-year-old Aretha Brown created the work to highlight life as a young First Nations person in the city. 

"I think in the media we see a lot of representations of young Indigenous people, particularly in remote communities, but if you look at the kind of the statistics most mob live in the city so I just wanted to kind of show that perspective as well," she said. 

The work was done with environmentally-friendly paint which absorbs toxins to clean the air, and is the equivalent of planting 128 trees.

For Ms Brown, environmental awareness was an integral part of the work. 

"Indigenous rights and land management and environmentalism go hand in hand," Ms Brown said. 

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The artist said the mural was a chance to reclaim the space around Fitzroy and Collingwood on Wurundjeri country.

"I feel like a lot of kind of groups around Melbourne get their areas, you know a lot of Italian mob in Lygon Street, I am from Footscray so there are a lot of African and Vietnamese mob, but I feel like Indigenous fellows don’t really have our set hub yet..." she said. 

"What I am trying to put into the work behind me is the idea of Elders being the pillars of the community, and young mob looking up to them in a lot of ways," Ms Brown said. 

Ms Brown said the work was also tied into the National Indigenous Youth Education Coalition which focused on the teaching of Aboriginal history in schools. 

The young activist was named the Prime Minister of the National Indigenous Youth Parliament in 2017.