First-ever Wind Towers Featuring Australian Indigenous Art Unveiled in South Australia

16.03.2017 Members

In a world-first, the Neoen- and Siemens-developed Hornsdale project in South Australia unveiled paintings by the local Ngadjuri and Nukunu people, featured on two wind towers. Spanning the base of the towers, the paintings were commissioned to tell the story of the land and connection that it has to the indigenous people of the region.

The artist for Nukunu people was Jessica Turner and the artists for Ngadjuri people were Chris Angrave and Louise Brown.

The installation of the artwork reflects the collaborative community engagement approach taken by Neoen while developing the wind farm. At Hornsdale’s energisation ceremony last year, funding grants given to local communities in consultation with the Northern Areas Council in Jamestown.

Representatives of the local Ngadjuri and Nukunu people with South Australian Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Minister Myam Maher at Hornsdale wind farm

“The use of Aboriginal paintings on wind towers at Hornsdale is recognition of the importance this land holds for the Ngadjuri and Nukunu people. These towers symbolise the coming together of the world’s oldest culture with the technologies of the future for the benefit of the nation”, South Australian Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Minister Kyam Maher said.

Ngadjuri people performing a traditional welcome to country ceremony

Artwork and the artists

The art featured on this tower was created by artists from the Ngadjuri and Nukunu people, the traditional Aboriginal owners of this land where the Hornsdale wind farm resides. The art tells the stories of each people’s connection to the land and the elements in this area and is symbolic of the symbiotic relationship between wind energy, the land and nature.

Nukunu artwork – created by Jessica Turner

  • Jessica Turner is a Nukunu woman who is also of Adnyamathanha and Kokotha background. Jessica developed interest in visual art as a child and in the last five years has started to share her publicly. Two of her projects include the development of work for the Port Pirie GP Health Centre in 2013 and the Port Pirie ABC Radio Reconciliation Statement in 2016.
  • Nukunu people refer to themselves as ‘snake people’ with a particular serpent of this region being held in the highest regard. The work that Jessica has developed represents the story of the serpent and their role in forming aspects of the landscape, particularly the waterholes and the need to protect this most vital resource.
  • The colours that Jessica has selected for her artwork represent aspects of dreaming stories relating to the serpent.

Ngadjuri artwork – created by Chris Angrave and Louise Brown 

  • Chris Angrave and Louise Brown are both Ngadjuri people.
  • Chris and Louise have been painting for years. Chris focuses on coastal arts, hunting stories and the different places such as Yorke Peninsula where people fish and collect seashells. Louise brings a woman’s perspective to the art.
  • The painting by Chris and Louise showcases how the Mungiura were found in the hilly country. They were seen peering over the top of the windbreaks, a storm was about to occur. The people then proceeded to blow hard, causing whirly wind – within which old people could be seen dancing.
  • They built the narrative together and took turns in painting their parts of the painting. 

Hornsdale, South Australia’s newest wind farm has been built to help the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) achieve its 100% renewable energy target by 2020 by powering 70,000 homes in Phase 1 alone. Siemens Australia is the turn-key builder of the wind farm.

According to Xavier Barbaro, Neoen’s global CEO who was in Australia for the energisation ceremony last year, “Local communities play a big role in the success of wind farms and in creating a sustainable economy and it’s encouraging to see how welcoming people in Hornsdale and surrounding communities have been”.

David Pryke, head of Siemens Wind Power business said, "The hi-tech Hornsdale wind farm is a truly sustainable – it's good for the economy, good for the environment and good for society. This type of approach makes Siemens the most sustainable company in the world."

Speaking about the support to local communities and the funding, Colin Byles, the CEO of the Northern Areas Council highlighted the many benefits to the local area.

The local community has also benefited by direct community funding.

“The Council believes that the Hornsdale Wind Farm Community Funding is of immense value to our small community organisations. The small organisations do not qualify for the major grants offered by government and the funding from the Hornsdale wind farm provides them with the opportunity to undertake projects that they would never been able to commence. All these organisations are run by volunteers with minimum income streams coming from their day to day operations”, said Mr Byles.