The lives and legacies of Uncle Archie Roach AM and Aunty Ruby Hunter will be celebrated through a new public artwork to be installed in Fitzroy.
Minister for Creative Industries Steve Dimopoulos today joined members of Uncle Archie and Aunty Ruby’s family, along with representatives from the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation and Yarra City Council, to announce an Andrews Labor Government investment of $287,000 for the sculpture.
Throughout their careers, both Uncle Archie and Aunty Ruby paved the way for First Peoples within the arts. Aunty Ruby's 1994 album, Thoughts Within, was the first solo album to be released by a First Peoples female artist and earned an ARIA Award nomination.
In 2020, Aunty Ruby was inducted into the National Indigenous Music Awards Hall of Fame, the same year Uncle Archie was named Victorian of the Year.
As well as creating a unique new landmark where music fans from across Victoria and around the world can pay tribute to the artists, the statue will recognise the pair’s important work with Melbourne’s First Peoples communities.
Since its establishment in 2014, the Archie Roach Foundation has had a significant impact on the lives of countless First Peoples artists and young people.
In March, the Foundation established the Ruby Hunter Award to support emerging First Peoples female artists with opportunities to be mentored by some of the country’s most prominent First Peopleswomen in music and receive a cash prize.
The Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation and Yarra City Council, along with family members, will start the process to commission and design the statue to be unveiled in 2023.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Creative Industries Steve Dimopoulos
“Uncle Archie and Aunty Ruby believed in the power of music to heal, to tell truths and to connect people from all walks of life.”
“Their songs will endure, and their community work and kindness changed lives – through this sculpture we’re ensuring that legacy lasts for generations.”
Quote attributable to Wurundjeri ElderUncle Colin Hunter
“Uncle Archie’s and Aunty Ruby’s passion for their people inspired these gifted songwriters. They produced lyrics that not only touched the hearts of millions but educated a nation on the Stolen Generations.”
Quote attributable to Myrtle Evans, sister of Uncle Archie Roach
“I remember good times with my dear baby brother Archie in Fitzroy and with Ruby right beside him. We shared many good times here together as a family. Being back here reminds me of those times. I miss those times now. May the spirit of dear Archie and Ruby always be here.”
Reviewed 27 October 2022