An exhibition of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art

Wed 18 Oct – Tues 7 Nov, 2017

Official Opening: Wed 18 Oct @ 5:30pm Oorala Aboriginal Centre, UNE

The Wawilak Sisters (detail) by Samuel LupindjaIn celebration of our 30th anniversary, Oorala invited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from communities across our region to be part of a 3 week exhibition. This was an opportunity to showcase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander paintings, works on paper, weavings and sculptures to to all who attended the Celebrating 30 Years events.

Art connects the past, the present and the future. Within Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander community a rich tradition of cultural knowledge has been passed on and as time passes contemporary expressions have emerged and created a diversity shown today.

Oorala Centre transforms into a GalleryOorala Mural Reinvented

The Oorala Aboriginal Centre was transformed into an exciting exhibition that wove the traditional with the contemporary. The exhibition showcased work from 23 practicing regional artists, which include a range of sculptures from the Armidale’s BackTrack Ironman Studio. Also on display were works from 5 UNE Collections; art works from the the UNE Art Collection, the Oorala Art Collection, the David Phillips Collection featuring the Hermansburg School,  plus numerous artefacts from UNE Archaeology and the Earle Page College Collection.

To set the scene for this inaugural exhibition the original mural which featured on the front of 1992 Centre, was found and refurbished into an art piece that now enhances a wall in the Oorala courtyard.  Tracking was added to the walls of the Oorala Centre for the ease of displaying works and free standing walls were brought in to create more space for the paintings. Oorala Art Exhibition Opening - Nick LevyThree significant bark paintings from Milingimbi Island, Arhnem Land recently added to the Oorala Art Collection were specially framed and hung for the Opening of this event. Other features included a very valuable pre-contact shield and an Anaiwan grinding stone from UNE Archaeology, and the full size recycled metal sheep and Kangaroo could not be overlooked.

Storyboards on Show

The Oorala Centre has a history project underway with historian Dr Ray Kelly heading the research. To enhance this the Centre is to install some story board displays into the entranceway of the building. Marrawal (echidna) by Brent EmersonA full size draft display of the Oorala 30 Storyboards were on display as part of the exhibition and  allowed for community consultation before the project is finalised. These were well read and gathered a lot of interest and discussion.

Opening the Event

The art sales started before the well-attended Opening launch of the exhibition and continued to the very last moment. Exhibiting artist and Oorala lecturer Donna Moodie stood as MC, Steve Widders and Colin Ahoy Oorala Art Exhibition Openingjoined together to deliver the Welcome to Country and exhibiting artist Lloyd Hornsby spoke about the importance of Aboriginal Art. Greg Davison, Director of Oorala, gave a speech about the 30th anniversary,  how this event  would draw people into the Centre who may not normally enter and he thanked those who attended and worked on the exhibition.

This exhibition was a very successful event in all ways.  From this event 54 artworks (14 paintings, 16 sculptures & 24 trinkets) totalling more than $10,000 were sold, with monies distributed to regional Indigenous artists. It enhanced the environment of the Oorala Aboriginal centre and brought the cultural significance of Aboriginal Art to the foreground of all who came through its doors.