Vernon Ah Kee

Kaurna Language Ephemeral Public Art Project

Vernon Ah Kee’s Kaurna Language EphemeralPublic Art Project asserts the significance of Indigenous languages in defining culture and identity of place.

The project embeds bold Kaurna words across the Fenn Place thoroughfare within the City West campus of University of South Australia. Addressing the ever-growing ‘concrete jungle’ encroachment onto Aboriginal country, the project highlights the enduring presence of Kaurna culture and connection to country.

Vernon Ah Kee of the Kuku Yalandji, Waanji, Yidindji, Gugu Yimithirr and Koko Berrin peoples, is a Brisbane-based artist, activist and social critic known for text-based works that address the gap between the arts and the body politic.

An intensive consultation workshop with Kaurna Elder Dr. Lewis O’Brien and Kaurna Warra Karrpanthi language group members identified a series of words that reflect the cultural relevance of the project site:

Tapa / Pathway
Muiyu / Seat of emotions
Marni / Good
Marnininthi / becoming better, improving
Located southern end of Fenn Place, adjacent to Hindley Street

Located northern end of Fenn Place, adjacent to North Terrace


A Samstag Museum of Art presentation on Fenn Place, University of South Australia's City West campus. Samstag Museum of Art and Vernon Ah Kee gratefully acknowledge the support of Professor Irene Watson, Pro Vice Chancellor Aboriginal Leadership and Strategy, University of South Australia. 


Thursday 31 May 2018, 5 — 7pm

Join us as we launch this Samstag Museum of Art presentation as part of Reconciliation Week 2018. Opening remarks by Dr. (Uncle) Lewis O'Brien, Professor Irene Watson and Vernon Ah Kee.

READ: Opening remarks by Professor Irene Watson