Sonny Green

Title: Garriya

Artist: Sonny Green - Kamilaroi nation, Australia

Curated by: Linnea Dick - Kwakwaka'wakw, Nisga'a, and Tsimshian Nations

Event: Vancouver Mural Festival

Year: 2019

More info:

The central circular figure of this piece is a ‘meeting ground’, which symbolises people from all walks of life coming together to express a common love and interest for art. The dotting in this artwork represents different lands that we each come from. The Rainbow Serpent or ‘Garriya’ is a central creator spirit in the Aboriginal Dreaming, and provides protection to all at the Vancouver Mural Festival.

Artist Statement:

The central circular figure of the piece is a traditional Aboriginal symbol signifying a ‘meeting ground’. The meeting ground is used here to represent people from all walks of life coming together to express a common love and interest for art, a universal connection for those present. Our meeting ground is the Vancouver Mural Festival. The dotting in this artwork represents different landscapes; desert, flat lands, coastal areas and mountainous terrain. The practice of the dotting within this piece reflects the different walks of life from which we have all come. The Rainbow Serpent or ‘Garriya’ is a central creator spirit in the Aboriginal Dreaming and is one of the world’s oldest continuing spiritual beliefs. Garriya is the creator and protector of the land and waterways. The footprints represent ‘safe travelling’ from many different communities to one community.

Simply put, this artwork is about communities coming together from different and distant lands for a common interest - working together to create or admire the art at the Vancouver Mural Festival. All of this is done under the protection and guidance of Garriya. The selection of colours is an homage to the LGBTQI+ community and the connectedness we all share.

Draft Image for mural

Draft Image for mural

About Sonny Green:

A contemporary Aboriginal artist from Kamilaroi nation, Australia. Sonny grew up in the small town of Moree, a town of significance in the history of Australia's Civil Rights movement. Currently residing in Sydney, he is trained in traditional Koori art, passed down through generations in his family. Sonny creates art across a range of different mediums to offer a modern interpretation and continuation of the ancient storytelling art form. Sonny uses a range of traditional techniques and methods to express personal and shared human experiences, always encompassing a strong sense of community, connectedness and Aboriginal spirituality.

Quote From the Curator:

“Something that has always amazed me is the beauty and strength of Indigenous cultures across the nation, and around the world. Bringing Sonny to VMF highlights some of the overlap between our cultures, but also that each of our cultures has unique gifts that we can learn from each other.”

- Linnea Dick (2019 VMF Guest Curator)


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Vancouver Mural Festival’s Indigenous Programs support artists and organizations in the creation of public art and workshops for youth. We believe Coast Salish and other Indigenous artists have the power to reshape urban spaces by reflecting their contemporary and traditional values, stories, experiences, and ideas in this lasting and tangible way. 

Vancity’s generous support enables us to better connect the stories of these programs with the public. Below you will find information in the form of videos, pictures, interviews, articles, and more.

Note: Our definition of Indigenous includes First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and in some cases First Peoples from around the world.

David Vertesi