Portrait of indigenous leader etched into 31-storey Melbourne building
If you're on Melbourne, Australia's main drag, you're going to come face-to-face with William Barak.
The gigantic likeness of the indigenous elder, artist and social justice advocate who died in 1903 now dominates the view. The apartment building project that bears his image was officially unveiled today.
"It's an incredibly powerful and, frankly, quite emotional sense when you look at it," says David Waldren, design manager of Grocon, the company that built the tower. "This man, who is such an important part of [the state of] Victoria, is back in a very big way as a visage looking over the city."
Barak was a leader of the Wurundjeri tribe when it signed a treaty with the white newcomers to the area. During his lifetime, the tribe's population plummeted dramatically. And eventually he moved them outside the city, where they still live.
Waldren tells As It Happens host Carol Off that the Wurundjeri approved of the plan to build a monument of sorts in honour of Barak.
The image was created by sculpting shapes into the white balconies of the building against the black wall behind, something Waldren says had never been done before.
It is situated at the north end of Swanston Street, the city's main boulevard. At the other end is a WWI monument called the Shrine of Remembrance -- and that's where the Barak portrait is best seen.