Doxa School Bendigo prides itself on being a welcoming place, so it comes as no surprise that they have chosen to feature an artwork in their foyer which provides a cultural welcome to all who enter the space.
The original design by indigenous artist Troy Firebrace features an Acknowledgement of Country with the heading Wominjeka, meaning welcome. As you approach the design the sculptural depiction of Bendigo Creek immediately catches your eye. The bright blue creek extends beyond the artwork, inviting you on a journey across Dja Dja Wurrung country.
Principal, John Russell said the original brief was for a traditional shaped artwork, however, when they looked at the design and saw the river going outside the rectangle, they decided to make that idea a feature.
“We originally had pinboards in the foyer that we wanted to fit the artwork in between, and we just took the pinboards down and put up the full design because it looked so spectacular,” said John.
Artist, Troy Firebrace drew inspiration from the local landscape when designing the art piece. “I looked at the waterways and the country scape and how those landmarks would fit in with my style of art, that’s when John and I collaborated to work out the text as well as the placement, and then we ended up with the finished product.”
Troy said that the Bendigo Creek was a pivotal element of the design. “I wanted to try to capture the Bendigo Creek, especially with what’s happening to try to restore the creek to health. There’s a lot of information around from the Dja Dja Wurrung people and so the significance of that creek, as well as the landscape, was taken into consideration with the design.”
John Russell said that the response to the artwork had been extremely positive.
“When the design went up in the foyer, it was right before the Term 4 holidays, and we sent messages out to parents and students about how the foyer had changed. The feedback from the kids has been fantastic, they really love the way the foyer looks,” he said.
The Acknowledgment of Country artwork is a major element of current refurbishment at Doxa School; however, it is not the only focus.
“We budgeted for the redesign of our foyer and our hallway area. There were three areas that we wanted to focus on. One was our cultural welcome, the second was our Catholic Identity and the other one was our positive behaviour program, Being Safe, Kind and Curious in our space.”
“We had discussions with some of our senior students about what we were wanting to do with the foyer. It was important that they were included in the process and in other areas of our school where we have tried to make sure that Doxa School is culturally safe and has a strong sense of our Catholic Identity.”
“We are still continuing the journey but it’s just fantastic to have the foyer completed,” said John.
Doxa School is situated next to the Catholic Education Office in Bendigo. In the true sense of being a welcoming place, they would love to show off their new foyer if you are in the area!