Three diverse exhibitions open at Gosford Regional Gallery

Barbara Swan and Kevin Duncan with a woven sculpture of Baiyami

Three diverse exhibitions exploring connections of female friendship, hidden histories and stories of creation open at Gosford Regional Gallery on June 10 and 11.

Darkinjung Ngurra’ (Country) – Women’s Spirit Connection, opening on June 10,  celebrates the creation story of Country which is embedded in the landscape of the Central Coast and surrounded by thousands of ancient stories.

Deborah Swan, Secretary of Mirring Aboriginal Corporation, said the sculptural exhibits had been created by eight women from the group highlighting the Indigenous history of the region.

Swan said the group was established officially in 2002.

“Darkinjung has a lot of sites significant to Indigenous women and the aim of the group is to help women on the Coast connect with Country,” she said.

“We run cultural camps to help increase knowledge of the area – it’s all about a safe space for women to be imbedded in history learn their culture.”

The women make artefacts to help keep the history alive.

“It’s the responsibility of everyone who lives on this Country to share that history,” she said.

The exhibition aims to immerse participants in the creation story of Darkinjung Ngurra’.

“Here on the Central Coast we are surrounded by thousands of ancient stories and Songlines criss-crossed throughout our landscape depicting travelling routes, food, water, ceremony and epic events that happened within the Central Coast,” Swan said.

Featuring a selection of hand crafted sculptures, the exhibition includes such items as a bark canoe and a huge sculpture of Baiyami, the first Creator, highlighting rock carvings at the Bulgandry art site at Woy Woy.

The carvings are recreated as a three-dimensional story.

The sacred art site teaches how to survive, to tread softly on Country, to respect life and spiritual connection to place.

The exhibition highlights the story of Baiyami, who travelled in his canoe across the Milky Way to a dark space bringing with him two of his wives Ganhanbili and Birrangulu.

“We start his story form the beginning with the bark canoe and the exhibition includes woven figures up to 9ft tall,” Swan said.

There will be a special weaving workshop on July 22 with details on the gallery’s website.

The second exhibition is Upside Down Man, a site-specific installation by multimedia artists Kevin “Gavi” Duncan and Ryan Lee, inviting the viewer to consider the hidden history of colonisation on the Central Coast.

The title of the work is conceived from the Upside Down Man Cave in Popran National Park, where lies a carving of an upside down (Aboriginal) man – a record of the ‘bastinado’ punishment taking place here on the Central Coast.

Opening on June 11 is Barbara Cleveland Thinking Business, an exhibition by members of the Barbara Cleveland collective which explores forms of female friendship, collaboration and artistic labour.

The project takes its title from Hannah Arendt’s description of her friendship with Mary McCarthy.

This is a Goulburn Regional Art Gallery and Museums & Galleries of NSW touring exhibition.

Full details of the three exhibitions can be found on the gallery’s website.

Terry Collins

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