Fitzroy artist announced for Archie Roach AM AC and Ruby Hunter Statue

Tuesday 21 March 2023

Darien Pullen and Mayor Claudia Nguyen image standing by workbench
Artist Darien Pullen and Mayor Claudia Nguyen. Image: Tim Carrafa

Fitzroy based artist Darien Pullen has been announced, to commission the statue honouring the lives and legacies of music legends Uncle Archie Roach AM AC and Aunty Ruby Hunter.

Yarra City Council are proud to be delivering this project in partnership with the Wurunderji Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation and Uncle Archie and Aunty Ruby’s family, with the support of the Victorian Government. 

Pullen’s appointment follows a competitive EOI process, in consultation with Uncle Archie and Aunty Ruby’s family, the Wurunderji Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation and Yarra City Council. 

Pullen, who works primarily in bronze sculptures, most recently created the sculpture of Australian music icon Michael Gudinski which is located outside Rod Laver Arena. He will now work with family members to design the sculpture celebrating Hunter and Roach and will work with Fitzroy-based foundry Meridian Sculpture to bring the artwork to life.

The artwork will be installed in Fitzroy later this year. 

Yarra City Council Mayor Claudia Nguyen acknowledged the enormity of Uncle Archie and Aunty Ruby’s impact.

“This artwork reflects the significance of Archie and Ruby’s contribution to the Australian music scene, as well as their strong connection to Yarra’s local Aboriginal community. We are honoured and look forward to this artwork finding a home in Fitzroy”.

Fitzroy loomed large in the lives of Uncle Archie and Aunty Ruby and the artwork will be a landmark for music fans to pay tribute to the legendary Australian musicians, as well as honouring their important work with Melbourne’s First Peoples communities.

Uncle Archie, who passed away in July last year, was last month posthumously appointed a companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for his services to the performing arts, to Indigenous rights and reconciliation and for supporting First Nations artists. 

Aunty Ruby, who passed away in 2010, was a trailblazer who was the inaugural First Peoples female artist to release a solo album, the 1994 ARIA award nominated Thoughts Within.

In 2020 she was inducted into the National Indigenous Music Awards Hall of Fame.

The Archie Roach Foundation which launched in 2014, has supported many First Peoples artists and young people, including establishing the Ruby Hunter Award to support emerging First Peoples female artists.

The creation of the statue is supported by the Victorian Government.


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