Indigenous Boy - Adnate, Hosier Lane

The representation of indigenous culture in street art is only a recent phenomenon. Previously there have been small works and tributes to the original owners of the land, however it is often considered a difficult or inappropriate subject matter to represent correctly by most non-aboriginal artists.

Indigenous culture is something that isn’t intrinsically linked to the CBD or in the minds of the general population. This mural of an Indigenous Australian boy is a massive 23 metres in scale and is located on the rear wall of McDonald house as viewed from Hosier Lane. The subject is positioned over the infrastructure of the city and gazes upon an Inner-city park called Birrarung Marr. Known as the “river of mists” in the native tongue of the Wurundjeri people, this portrait furthers the connection to the land that the Wurundjeri people hold and forces greater public acknowledgement of the original owners of the land.

Using a palette forged with earth colours and white tones representing the traditional face paint worn during indigenous rituals and performances, the artist Adnate has created a controversial talking point among the patrons of the CBD who are confronted with the striking realism of the portrait during their commute through the city. The work provides the presence of indigenous culture amongst the modern architecture and advertising and in effect claims back a small proportion of the space that was taken from the indigenous inhabitants during colonisation.