It’s a painstaking operation, but Brett Leavy hasn’t stopped “carving” for the last 25 years.
And during this time the goal has not changed.
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“The goal has always been to communicate cultural heritage,” Leavy told 7NEWS.com.au.
Leavy, a Kooma man from Queensland, has made it his life’s work to create an “Indigenous metaverse”.
That is, a virtual representation of the Australian continent before the arrival of Europe.
As part of the unique Virtual Songlines project, Leavy leads a team that has now created depictions depicting First Nations life and lands in places such as Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Newcastle, Townsville, Barcaldine and Uluru.
Although the project has a strong educational aspect, he said the idea originally arose as a “practical application of cultural heritage” during the application process for his people’s Native Title.
This heritage is usually presented in documents such as archaeological and anthropological reports and mapping.
“I started thinking about how I could portray it better,” Leavy said.
“A lot of people have said, ‘Wow, that’s a great learning tool.'”
“Yes, but isn’t it a great recording tool? Isn’t it a great store of knowledge?
“I think so, so I want to work towards that.
“I want to build an interactive and immersive temporal and spatial culture mapping system.”
Leavy’s work has been exhibited in railway stations, museums and government buildings.
It’s a slow process, with about 75 percent of the build dedicated to research as it follows “cultural protocols, co-design and oversight,” while the programming and development aspects are meticulous.
But Leavy’s motivation — to “give substance” to the concept of First Nations sovereignty — remains.
“Where were our suburbs? Where were our supermarkets? Where were our dishes, our butchers, all these things that we have these days,” he said.
“They connect the past with the present and look to the future.”
What is National Reconciliation Week?
National Reconciliation Week is an annual event for Australians to celebrate and learn about First Nations history, culture and achievements.
The week takes place from May 27th to June 3rd.
In celebration of National Reconciliation Week, 7NEWS.com.au takes a look at the issues affecting First Nationals in Australia and their stories.