Last updated on Sunday, July 21st, 2019

Tiriki Onus

Tiriki Onus, Yorta Yorta and Dja Dja Wurrung artist and educator

As Yorta Yorta and Dja Dja Wurrung artist and educator Tiriki Onus writes (in his 2019 letter of support for the project), “I will be contributing art and ideas to the interactive project, ‘Seeding Treaties: Voices from the Southern Ocean’, through conversations with Lisa Roberts, Paul Fletcher and, through them, with other co-creators of this kaleidoscope of knowledge flows through space and time. I love that this project travels, physically and virtually, and the whole metaphor of travel as migratory patterns that are kind of linear but not, as well. To my mind it’s like a wonderful Ven diagram where everything overlaps and stories change. Even though it’s the most linguistically diverse part of Australia, if we travel down to the Murray river, every time we come to a new language group there’s a new name for that river which we Yorta Yorta call the Dhungala. There’s also a new creation story for that river. We travelled up and down that river through time. The river was our highway. And so, we were able to be well-informed diplomats who could move from country to county, from language to language, and acknowledge all those stories happening in the same place, and with that same river. I believe this project has the potential to open up young minds to the true meaning of Treaties as agreements people make to live well together.

“Tiriki Onus is a successful visual artist, curator, performance artist and opera singer. His first operatic role was in the premiere of Deborah Cheetham’s Pecan Summer in October 2010, which he reprised in 2011, and 2012 for the Melbourne and Perth runs. He received the Dame Nellie Melba Opera Trust’s Harold Blair Opera Scholarship in 2012 and 2013. In 2015 he was the inaugural Hutchinson Indigenous Fellow at the University of Melbourne. “
University of Melbourne Profile page