The Indigenous Exhibition at Long Point Vineyard this August is not to be missed, with works on display from Dunghutti Artists and Aboriginal artists of the Mid North Coast region. Jann Kesby tells us more.
Who are some of the artists being featured?
Artists include Aunty Esther Quinlin, Elwyn Toby, Alison Williams, Mabel Ritchie, Matthew Blackwell, and Natalie Bateman, to name a few. Some of these artists are practicing as professionals and have been hung in NSW Indigenous Parliament award, won prizes in major art exhibitions and pursue art as their career.
Others are emerging at a fast rate and paint with great passion. It enables members of the Aboriginal community to record their history and culture through storytelling on to canvas.
How has the Dunghutti Ngaku Aboriginal Art Gallery grown since its inception?
DNAAG came about in 2008 after lengthy consultation with the Dunghutti Aboriginal community. They had been passionate for a long time about having a professional space where they could showcase their works.
It was fortuitous that Kempsey Shire Council offered, what used to be, the old theatrette next to the Visitor Information Centre to be turned into a Gallery. The Visitor Information Centre is nestled in parkland at South Kempsey next to the Macleay Historical Museum in the building designed by world renowned architect, Glenn Murcutt.
Since its inception, the Gallery has assisted Aboriginal artists in establishing themselves as professional artists, and their works are now held in local, intrastate and international collections.
What has given inspiration for the artworks, ranging from traditional dot paintings to more contemporary styles?
Each artist has their own unique style and draws inspiration from their natural surrounds, be it from freshwater mountainous regions down to the saltwaters of the coastline. All artists are recording history and culture passed down through many generations.
Aunty Esther Quinlin, an elder from the Thunghutti people of Bellbrook, was raised on a Government Reserve in Bellbrook (Wupu Manhatinun).
Aunty Esther works the canvas, meticulously covering it with fine dot work symbolising flora and fauna of the Thunghutti region. She teaches Thunghutti language at many schools in the Macleay Shire.
Mabel Ritchie is an Aboriginal artist with an intellectual disability and came to painting in 2009 as part of a “Living Skills” programme. Her work is exhilarating and honest, as she uses a variety of techniques building up surface design with line and texture through applications of bold colours.
Both Natalie Bateman and Alison Williams are more contemporary in their style and both have been hung in the NSW Indigenous Parliament Award.
How do the works share history and culture through storytelling?
Aboriginals have a long history connected not only to Dunghutti land, but Australia-wide. Many stories of ceremony, hunting, gathering, caring for the land have been passed down through generation after generation. The artworks share history and culture by the depiction of specific totems which are sacred to the Aborigines and are not hunted or eaten.
Others are symbolised as sacred icons, not necessarily totems, to specific areas where ceremonies were performed. Many works show flora and fauna that were hunted and gathered for existing on the land.
What will visitors enjoy most about the exhibition at Long Point Vineyard?
Visitors to Long Point Vineyard will be struck by the individualism of each artist’s works, their use and application of paint, bold use of colour and most of all, the coming together of an extensive display of Aboriginal Artworks by artists of the broader Mid North Coast region that is not very often seen in the area.
Images: Goanna Tracks – Elwyn Toby, Thunghutti artist; Dhubal in Bark – Aunty Esther Quinlin, Thunghutti artist; Gymea Lily – Mabel Ritchie, Dunghutti Artist
Plug: Opening Wed 5th August – 30th September 2015. 10am – 5pm daily, except mondays.
Long Point Vineyard
6 Cooing Place, Lake Cathie.
Phone 6585 4598
Open 6 Days, 10am to 5pm (Closed Mondays and Christmas Day)
This article was from issue 117 of Greater Port Macquarie Focus.