The Westgate Freeway in Melbourne, typically known for its bustling traffic, now hosts an innovative visual display. This transformation is the result of a collaboration between Tilt Industrial Design, First Nations artist Lisa Waup, JCDecaux and the Victorian Department of Transport. The outcome, a compelling Indigenous art installation, provides a novel and significant cultural addition to the urban environment.

Named pathed between, the artwork comprises two 20-metre-wide installations, marking Australia’s first original Indigenous artwork linked with out-of-home advertising. Presented alongside a digital billboard, the artwork carries rich Indigenous symbolism through its design, differing significantly from traditional outdoor advertising.

First Nations artist Lisa Waup crafted the intricate design, interweaving circular lines and intersecting points to symbolise familial ties, community bonds, and life’s journeys. Waup explains her design intent: “These roads, these pathways take us where we need to go. They are places of guidance, movement and travel through which we connect.”

Landmark Indigenous art installation unveiled on Melbourne’s Westgate Freeway

Tilt Industrial Design, renowned for its ability to bring concept to construction, was integral in the installation’s development. Tim Phillips, Tilt’s managing director and creative director, emphasised the critical role of maintaining the integrity of Waup’s original artwork throughout the design and production processes. A video of the artwork being assembled in situ can be seen here.

Tilt, in collaboration with Waup, converted the 2D concept into a physical entity, considering technical aspects such as manufacturing materials, techniques, and engineering parameters. Balancing artistic merit with practical considerations, Tilt produced digital iterations, prototypes, and tested different designs to ensure that the installation’s cultural significance was not compromised by its freeway setting.

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Landmark Indigenous art installation unveiled on Melbourne’s Westgate Freeway

Phillips discussed the project’s inherent challenges, including the complexity of creating an artwork visible and impactful to drivers while also preserving its artistic intent. This balance between aesthetic appeal and technical feasibility was paramount in the project’s execution.

Gabriela Sutherland, project manager at Authority Creative, spoke highly of the collaboration with Tilt, asserting its significant role in maintaining the integrity of the artwork and achieving the project’s objectives.

The artwork was unveiled during National Reconciliation Week 2023, an event marked by a smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country by local elder Aunty Julieanne. Now installed permanently on the Westgate Freeway as part of JCDecaux’s advertising contract with the Victorian Department of Transport, the artwork enriches the urban landscape with its unique Indigenous motif.

This project illustrates the potential of incorporating Indigenous artistry in public spaces. pathed between serves as an embodiment of Australia’s cultural heritage, demonstrating the successful collaboration between Tilt Industrial Design and Lisa Waup.

JCDecaux Australia’s CEO, Steve O’Connor, highlights the installation’s broader significance, expressing the company’s commitment to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It’s an initiative that signifies a meaningful step towards integrating Indigenous culture into urban design.

Tilt Industrial Design’s contribution was instrumental in addressing the project’s complexities, ensuring the successful integration of the artwork into the freeway infrastructure while respecting Waup’s artistic vision. This project underscores the potential for multidisciplinary collaborations in producing impactful public art.

Lisa Waup

Tilt Industrial Design

Landmark Indigenous art installation unveiled on Melbourne’s Westgate Freeway

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