October 25, 2022

Alcoa Foundation Supports Giant Project

Winjan_Giants meeting_WR_press_Oct_22 9First Nations’ culture will be interwoven into the highly anticipated Australian-first Giants of Mandurah exhibition by world-renowned Danish artist Thomas Dambo with support from the Alcoa Foundation.

The Foundation, our global charity, is providing not-for-profit arts organisation FORM Building a State of Creativity with about $110,000 (USD $70,000) to further support the integration of Aboriginal stories and culture into the free-to-view outdoor sculpture trail of large-scale whimsical wooden Giants, which will kick off from 12 November and run for at least 12 months.

Through the funding, Alcoa Foundation will also be a principal supporter of the environmental and community engagement elements of the exhibition, resulting in a dedicated wetland rehabilitation project and range of educational resources for both schools and the general public.

Mandurah, Western Australia’s largest regional city outside the Perth metro area, is set against a backdrop of magnificent beaches and an estuary twice the size of Sydney Harbour. The Traditional Owners of the Mandurah region are the Bindjareb people of the Noongar Nation, who named the locality Mandjoogoordap, which translates as ‘meeting place of the heart’.

Both an artist and environmental activist, Dambo's artistic practice celebrates the diversity, beauty and importance of protecting the natural world. Handmade using recycled and locally sourced materials, his works are a vehicle for highlighting the stories and culture of the communities in which they are placed.

One of his most ambitious projects to date, Dambo has intentionally designed the Giants of Mandurah as a game of self-discovery that will encourage stewardship and protection of the Peel region’s natural environment. The artistic narrative and environmental story that will sit alongside the sculpture will be inextricably intertwined with the stories of the Bindjareb people.

FORM has been working closely with the local Bindjareb Noongar Elders, Winjan Aboriginal Corporation, and the artist to commission and include Aboriginal narratives and experiences within the project. These will feature in the Giants of Mandurah Traveller’s Companion, and supporting educational resources for schools and teachers co-designed and developed by FORM’s Creative Schools program. A creation story generously gifted by a Bindjareb Elder will be told across each sculpture site and feature in these materials.

Winjan Aboriginal Corporation Board Director George Walley said, “We, FORM and the City of Mandurah believe there is an opportunity to educate visitors and the wider Western Australian community on not only the cultural significance and history of the area, but also traditional land management practices used by Aboriginal people as the traditional custodians and guardians of this Country.”

Alcoa Foundation Board Member and Alcoa Australia President Michael Gollschewski said, “The Alcoa Foundation is committed to giving back to the communities where Alcoa operates. We’re thrilled to be contributing to a project that will share the richness of the Bindjareb Noongar people’s cultural identity with a local, state, national and international audience. We are also very pleased to be supporting the environmental aspect of this project and hope to inspire current and future generations to consider and care for our important waterways, adding to the fantastic work already being carried out by local environmental groups.”

FORM’s CEO Tabitha McMullan said, “Dambo’s sculptures have a proven track record of engaging hundreds of thousands of new audience members around the world with art, place and meaning. The Giants of Mandurah is an opportunity to celebrate on a global stage our unique cultural heritage. We are so privileged to be able to work closely with Traditional Owners to tell this story.

“The exhibition also emphasises the importance of the wetland system and its associated migratory bird populations, as well as flora and fauna species which rely on the system for their survival. Through consultation to date, the local Mandurah community have made it clear they would like to see an ongoing positive environmental legacy created by this project.”

The Giants of Mandurah has been initiated and produced by FORM Building a State of Creativity and delivered in collaboration with the City of Mandurah. The project is supported by the State Government through Tourism WA’s Regional Events Program, the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, and Lotterywest; plus the City of Subiaco and Alcoa Foundation.

Information including tips and resources such as the Traveller’s Companion will be made available through the project’s dedicated website www.giantsofmandurah.com.au

The Giants of Mandurah will launch to the public on Saturday 12 November, and will be on display for at least 12 months until 12 November 2023.