Ngarrindjeri artist Betty Sumner has been commissioned by the Raukkan Community Council to create a new large public art work for the community.
The work will adorn a massive concrete structure on a hill overlooking the Raukkan township and Lake Alexandrina and will be based on her delightfully controversial work from 2006, The Protectors, featuring Ngarrindjeri shields and traditional designs. Congratulations Betty!
Here is the ABC Riverland coverage from June 8th 2017. Damien Shen and Cedric Varcoe getting a big plug - congratulations! Find the full article here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-08/indigenous-artists-share-stories-murray-bridge-art/8597452
Inaugural Ngarrindjeri Culture Hub Exhibition June 2 to July 16, 2017
Ngarrindjeri elder Major Sumner and the Tal Kin Jeri dancers will launch the ‘Ngarrindjeri Yunnan Yarluwar Ruwe - Ngarrindjeri Speaking For Sea-Country’ exhibition with a Welcome to Country ceremony, on Sunday, June 4th, 2017 at 2.30pm, at the Murray Bridge Regional Gallery.
Open from June 2 to July 16, 2017, the exhibition forms part of the Ngarrindjeri Culture Hub initiative, a community arts partnership between Ngarrindjeri and Change Media, to put Ngarrindjeri arts and culture proudly on the map.
‘Ngarrindjeri Yunnan Yarluwar Ruwe - Ngarrindjeri Speaking For Sea-Country’ connects works from emerging and established Ngarrindjeri artists, across cultural practices and modern art forms, including paintings, carvings, pottery, woven sculptures, silk prints and digital works.
The group show will feature Moogy’s Yuki, the first Ngarrindjeri bark canoe made on Ngarrindjeri/ Boandik country in over 150 years, a large woven sculpture of Kondoli the Whale, and the first showing of exciting new work by celebrated artist Damien Shen and upcoming painter Cedric Varcoe.
The show will also include the Ngarrindjeri Culture Hub website launch and premiere of the second season of the mini-series ‘Everything is Connected’, co-created with award-winning SA film maker Johanis Lyons-Reid. Season One screens on ABC iView and won the prestigious International Melbourne WebFest award for Best Australian Factual Miniseries 2016 and was shortlisted as finalist at the South Australian Screen Awards 2016.
Exhibiting Artists in the 2017 exhibition:
Ellen Trevorrow and Ngarrindjeri weavers, Major Sumner, Jack Stengle, Bluey Roberts, Betty Sumner, Lyn Lovegrove Niemz, Damien Shen, Cedric Varcoe, and Change Media in collaboration with the Ngarrindjeri Media team.
The exhibition has been co-curated by Jen Lyons-Reid and Carl Kuddell, Ngarrindjeri elders Ellen Trevorrow and Major Sumner, and the participating Ngarrindjeri artists.
Looking forward to see you there. Nukkan!
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, and by the South Australian Government through Arts SA.
Congratulations to Lyn for winning the 2017 Campbelltown Art Prize in two categories - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Art and 1st Prize Wheel Formed Ceramics/ Pottery.
The Campbelltown Art Show is running from May 20-28, 2017. Find out more about it here.
Lyn sold her painting, Red Earth Goannas, right away on launch night. Go Lyn!
The Rural City of Murray Bridge is in negotiation with Ngarrindjeri and Change Media to commission a public art work for the pavement plaza and façade of the Regional Gallery.
Cedric worked with us over four days. We followed him to Hindmarsh Island, where he painted at one of his favorite spots on the river, just across from the Murray Mouth.
The colourful vibrancy of his work fascinates us, as much as the stories of Ngarrindjeri creation Cedric tells in his paintings.
We visited Cedric and his family in Port Pirie, where he lives since ten years. He is very passionate about sharing his culture and joy of painting with his kids, they often come with him into the local library.
The visit at Port Adelaide's Better World Arts gallery was amazing. We had no idea how prolific Cedric was, until we saw the range of beautiful work on display. While we were shooting, staff packed up one of his works to go to London. Talk about up and coming...a truly inspiring artist.
We worked with Betty over two days, at her studio in Raukkan in the Coorong and visiting galleries and commissions of her work in Goolwa and Victor Harbor.
Betty works across a range of art forms. Her beautiful old cottage is at once a silk painting workshop, a painter's studio and a weaver's retreat.
We followed Betty around Goolwa and met up with Alexandrina Council arts officer Leah Grace, who showed us Betty's profile in the Goolwa Regional Arts Centre and a new commission at the Fleurieu Aquatic Centre.
We worked with Lyn Lovegrove Niemz for two days. She invited us into her pottery studio in her home in Adelaide. It was fascinating to watch new work grow on her potter's wheel.
On Day 2 she took us to Murrungung, the ruins of her family home on her ancestral lands on the Murray River near Wellington. She spent a lot of her childhood in the house and comes often to seek solace at this magical place, overlooking the river and Lake Alexandrina.
We had the pleasure working with Damien Shen and his family over three days in late summer and early autumn. Damien is at an exciting point in his career, garnering national and international attention, with a trip to China in May 2017 and new exhibitions coming up.
He feels strongly about engaging with his Ngarrindjeri and Chinese heritage. We felt there is a deeper playfulness hiding behind his technical prowess, a story demanding to be told.
He shares his passion for for art making with his children, with whom he often paints.
Damien invited us to work with him in Raukan Aboriginal Community during a mural workshop with aerosol artist Guido van Helten.
We worked with Major Sumner over six days on locations across Ngarrindjeri country, for two episodes of Everything is Connected, Ngarrindjeri wood carving and Ngarrindjeri dance.
During the wood carving shoot, Major Sumner shared shaping techniques and explained the intricate Ngarrindjeri designs he uses for ceremonial shields and clubs.
We were able to catch the last light with Major and the dancers at the Murray Mouth on Kumerangk (Hindmarsh Island). They demonstrated several Ngarrindjeri dances, depicting some of their Ngartjis, their spirit animals.
Ellen Trevorrow's episode for Everything Is Connected was shot in 2016 over two days. She was already working on the massive collaborative woven sculpture of Kondoli the Whale, with members of her family and wider Ngarrindjeri community.
Kondoli is over 4m long and at the tail 1.4m high and features in the 2017 exhibition. It was initially developed as a collaborative work for the Pacific Encounters project, with Flinders University and Le Havre's Museum for Natural History.
Ellen Trevorrow and her team took us out on country near Narrung to collect rushes. The weavers, traditionally both women and men, now have to travel over 100 kilometers, as far as Strathalbyn on the other side of the Lower Lakes, to find suitable rushes, due to environmental degradation.
Change Media and Ngarrindjeri collaborated on a short web-documentary, as an engaging promotional tool for Ngarrindjeri and the Department of Water, the Environment and Natural Resources DEWNR, to showcase the significance of Ngarrindjeri science and cultural understanding of the Murray Mouth, the Murray River, the Lower Lakes and the Coorong.
We traveled with Ngarrindjeri, visiting locations significant for Ngarrindjeri cultural and caring for country practices , along the Murray River, the Lower Lakes, Coorong and the Murray Mouth, to highlight the spiritual connection between Ngarrindjeri and their lands and waters.
The documentary follows the narration script and storyboard developed by NRA, Change Media and DEWNR in late 2015, with a voice-over performed by Ngarrindjeri elder Ellen Trevorrow.
The project also features one of the Ngarrindjeri nurseries, where their team is growing a wide range of native plants for revegetation work and their new wild eats business.
The project included eight collaborative workshops with Ngarrindjeri community members and their media team. The script for the video was developed with thw Ngarrindjeri Media Team over several months to identify the best way to represent Ngarrindjeri culture and ongoing connection to their lands and waters.
We shot over five days on six locations, in the Coorong, on the Murray River and at the Encounter coast around Pt. Elliot, Goolwa and Victor Harbor.
The result is an inspiring video featuring several generations of Ngarrindjeri, elders past and present, and the breadth of Ngarrindjeri culture, lands and water, heritage and other activities.
The final video was included into the award-winning web series Everything Is Connected. Ngarrindjeri are using the video to represent their culture, at events locally and globally, online and on ABC iView.
The artists confirmed for the inaugural Ngarrindjeri Culture Hub exhibition June 2 to July 16, 2017, are:
Ellen Trevorrow and Ngarrindjeri weavers
Lyn Lovegrove Niemz
Change Media and Ngarrindjeri Media team