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A tram in a warehouse that is painted black with 'always was' painted in red and yellow
Photograph: Supplied / Common State

Melbourne's 2021 Art Trams will be designed entirely by First Nations artists

The six trams will be unveiled during the inaugural Rising festival

Nicola Dowse

For the first time ever, this year's Melbourne Art Trams will feature works solely by First Nations artists. The trams will run as part of Melbourne's inaugural Rising festival, with organisers currently looking for First Nations artists from or living in Victoria to submit their work for consideration.

This isn't the first time the trams have featured First Nations artists, with the likes of Brook Andrew, Hayley Millar-Baker and Kent Morris all having contributed works in the past. However, 2021 will be the first time the trams been dedicated to solely showcasing First Nations work. Six art trams are expected to run, four featuring artists identifying as Traditional Owners from across Victoria, and two featuring First Nations artists living and working in Victoria.

Rising festival artistic associate, Art Trams curator and Yorta Yorta woman, Kimberley Moulton, said: "It is exciting that for the first time in Melbourne Art Trams history, the project will be focusing on the talent of First Peoples artists from across Victoria. This shift to celebrate and support First Peoples artists with the iconic program is a recognition of our stories and deep connections to the city and that reach out to the regions."

Melbourne's Art Trams first hit the tracks in 1978 as the Transporting Art initiative (which ran until 1993). It was then brought back in 2013 as part of Melbourne Festival, which of course has now transformed into the behemoth winter arts festival, Rising.

Interested in applying? Head over to the Rising website to find out more and to apply. Expressions of interest are open now until 6pm on February 1.

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