2021 Melbourne Art Trams : Aunty Rochelle Patten

Mon 4 October

Aunty Rochelle Patten’s rolling artwork, March of the Ants, is one of the six Melbourne Art Trams designed exclusively by First Peoples artists in 2021.



Tram Route: 58, 59

Aunty Rochelle Patten
“This artwork is titled march of the ants. It pays respects to environment and caring for country and community. Our old people learnt a lot by observing the environment, it taught us things, it still tells us things if we are open to listening. The ants represent travelling, working together and participating in our communities. Every ant has a role to play to ensure survival and continuity. All roles are important in the community’s success. The feet represent us observing and learning from them and applying those principles to our society. As individuals; the ants are minute and weak. But together, they are strong. This is how I view our society when we work together. It’s all of our duty to care for country and each other.”


Aunty Rochelle Patten is a highly respected elder and cultural leader and artist. Patten has a Masters of Applied Science at Deakin University—which she achieved at fifty years of age—focused on the health of the Dungahla (Murray) River and Murray Darling Basin areas of where she has lived and continues to care for. She has worked for the Native Title Legal Service and the Cummeragunja Aboriginal Medical Service as the chairperson for sixteen years. Patten also sits on the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council as a director for her region. Patten has been creating art for many years and recently had a joint exhibition at Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre titled Two Strong Sisters. Patten has been on the Yulendj knowledge group for Museums Victoria since 2012 and was an integral contributor to the First Peoples exhibition at Melbourne Museum. She is a respected member of her community and currently lives in the Barmah Forest connecting and caring to her country and animal friends.

2021 Melbourne Art Trams

The place now known as Melbourne is a city built on the lands of the Kulin Nation peoples; Traditional Owners who continue to maintain deep connections to their country, kin and waterways that have existed for tens of thousands of years.

In 2021, for the first time, each Melbourne Art Tram has been designed by a First Peoples artist. As a collective of moving artworks all six share with us the strength and beauty of creative cultural expression and the interwoven connections and continuous cultures of First Peoples in Victoria. Below you'll find links to the work of each contributing artist, as well as further reading on the curation and selection process undertaken by RISING:


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