Manggan – Gather, Gathers, Gathering Manggan, the exhibition at Museum of Tropical North Queensland until Feburary 11

 

Abe Muriata (artist) and Brian Oldman (SA Museum) at MTQ Opening

Abe Muriata (artist) and Brian Oldman (SA Museum) at MTQ Opening

 

The Museum of Tropical North Queensland in Townsville is the first venue of a national tour of artworks and cultural objects from the rainforest people of the Girringun region.

Opened recentlyby Girringun Chairperson and Gugu Badhun Traditional Owner Ms Pat Hoolihan, this touring exhibition was made possible with funding from Visions Australia.  Ms Hoolihan commented that:  This project originated out of community interest in the cultural material from the Girringun region collected by South Australia Museum, including rare objects never displayed publicly and never with Traditional Owner involvement. We are very much involved in what is happening here now.. The inclusion of some very rare and beautiful objects – baskets, firemaking tools and others, bringing them back to visit from South Australia to North Queensland for the first time in over 100 years is – for us – a profound experience, as we believe that the spirits of the old people, our ancestors, remain with the objects. They are extraordinarily precious.

Girramay Elder Claude Beeron was the cultural advisor for the project and was moved to see these objects from his ancestors so close to home.  Mr Beeron had previously travelled to Adelaide and Melbourne with curator Dr Valerie Boll and artists Abe Muriata, Nephi Denham, Mrs Ninney Murray and Debra Murray for research and liaison with the South Australian Museum and the Melbourne Museum.

Mr Brian Oldman, Director of the South Australia Museum came up for the exhibition and joined a  large contingent of artists and interested people who travelled to Townsville last Friday to experience the amazing display of rainforest culture and imagery.

Traditional and contemporary works showcased in the same space demonstrate the progression of tool and object making and transitions that are occurring in more recent work and reflect on a culture which is very much alive.  The exhibition includes two documentaries and aerial images by Debra Murray, sculptural works and weaving.

Manggan – gather, gathers, gathering, the exhibition, features 19 artists and it will tour to fourteen venues across five states for the next three years. Museums and Galleries in Brisbane will manage the touring component of the show with support from Girringun Art Centre Manager Valerie Keenan.

The Museum of Tropical North Queensland, Townsville is open every day between 0930 and 1700 hours, and the exhibition will remain open to the public in Townsville until February 11.  For further information: http://www.mtq.qm.qld.gov.au/Events+and+Exhibitions/Exhibitions/2017/09/Manggan#.WbNhfsax9hE or contact Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre 07 40668300.

Clay Stories Girringun artists participate in Clay Stories Exhibtion at Sabbia Gallery, Sydney

Clay Stories in Sydney

Artist Emily Murray and art centre Manager Valerie Keenan attended the opening of Clay Stories at Sabbia Gallery in Sydney in March 2017.

Artists from 5 communities Ernabella, Erub, Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre, Hermannsburg and the Tiwi islands had work displayed in a combined exhibition which will tour later in 2017.

Emily Murray attends the opening of Clay Stories at Sabbia Gallery, Sydney.  Michael West and Tony Albert share the moment.  Photo V Keenan Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre 2017

Emily Murray attends the opening of Clay Stories at Sabbia Gallery, Sydney. Michael West and Tony Albert share the moment. Photo V Keenan Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre 2017

Alison Murray wins Inaugural CIAF Emerging Artist Award 2017 Alison Murray wins Inaugural CIAF Emerging Artist Award 2017

Alison Murray is congratulated by Sponsor Christ Marsh for winning the Inaugural CIAF Emerging Artist Award 2017

Alison Murray is congratulated by Sponsor Christ Marsh for winning the Inaugural CIAF Emerging Artist Award 2017

 

The Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre and artists have excelled this year at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF).

“We began our association with the event at the very first CIAF in 2009,” Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre Manager Valerie Keenan said.

“It was held at the Tanks Art Centre and we have been involved every year since then.

“It is now held at the Cairns Cruise Terminal and this year for the first time major awards were provided.

“Artist Alison Murray received the Inaugural Emerging Artist Award this year for a series of 10 ceramic works about her family.

“The work was universally acclaimed at CIAF and is in the process of being acquired by a major institution.

“Alison adds this award to earlier successes which includes being a finalist of the 2016 Indigenous Ceramic Art Awards in Shepparton and represented in the prestigious annual exhibition, Salon des Refuses in Darwin in 2016.

“We were also very proud to have the art centre recognised for its contribution and received the Highly Commended Art Centre Award.

“The artists and the art centre have gained a reputation for producing quality work and it is our aim to support artists to develop their arts practice and achieve great outcomes.

“It is very much a team effort.”

 

Abe Muriata at CIAF Abe Muriata talks to the Media at CIAF

CIAF has provided Girringun and the artists excellent exposure and provided a platform not only for displaying artwork but also as a place for advocacy.

Abe Muriata fields media questions at CIAF. He is standing in front of a large eel trap he created.  Photo V Keenan GAAC.

Abe Muriata fields media questions at CIAF. He is standing in front of a large eel trap he created. Photo V Keenan GAAC.

Girramay Artist Abe Muriata participated in a raft of media interviews during CIAF on the subject of Fake Art Harms Culture.

This campaign spear-headed by the Indigenous Art Code is designed to make people aware that there is an overabundance of un-authentic Aboriginal product being sold under the guise of the genuine article.

“I’ve seen boomerangs that were made in Asia,” Abe Muriata said.

“Painted by someone who wasn’t an Aboriginal.

“Boomerangs like these follow a pattern, are generally mass produced and are essentially a picture to hang on the wall.

“They are fake and they are not cultural.

“But, if you look at a genuine traditional boomerang, the object, its patterns and drawings tell one or more stories.

“They are inherently cultural.

“But, somewhere along the line the story stopped and the picture took over.

“Something a bit like boomerangs that are made for the tourist market.

“The object has gone beyond the story.

“It has got bigger than all of us.

“In a way it was inevitable.

“While there may be some sort of controls we can put into place, all I suspect that we can do is ensure acknowledgement of ownership and origins and endeavour to seek some sort of compensation for Aboriginal people.”

 

The Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre is funded by the Arts Queensland Backing Indigenous Arts Fund and the Ministry of the Arts Indigenous Visual Arts Strategy.

Philip Denham wins IACA Lucille Osborne Emerging Artist Award 2017 Philip Denham wins IACA Lucille Osborne Emerging Artist Award 2017

Girramay Traditional Owner Philip Denham of Murray Upper was awarded the annual IACA Lucille Osborne Emerging Artist Memorial Fellowship at the Kick Arts Contemporay Art Space  in Cairns in July.

An artist supported by the Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre, Philip was overwhelmed to hear that his entry was successful.

“My culture is very important to me and this means that I will be able to continue the work of my parents,” Philip said.

“My son Nephi is already a successful artist and now he will be able to help me with my work.”

The fellowship will allow Philip and Nephi to travel to Melbourne to look at traditional objects from this area in the Melbourne Museum.

“Nephi saw a turkey trap when he went down earlier this year.

“I make a lot of string and I want to make a fish trap and turkey trap.

“The last time I saw one made was by my father Andy Denham.

“Mrs Ninney Murray will show me how to make a trap and then I want to teach others.”

Once Philip has finished his traps he will then look at using the bush string to make more contemporary items.

“Philip began making bush string on a regular basis about 12 months ago,” Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre Manager Valerie Keenan said.

“His technique has matured during that period and the string he makes is of an amazing quality.

“He is very committed to making sure that cultural practices of rainforest culture are maintained.”

Philip Denham accepts IACA Lucille Osborne Emerging Artist Award in Cairns.  Photo R Morten Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre

Philip Denham accepts IACA Lucille Osborne Emerging Artist Award in Cairns. Photo R Morten Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre

Keep on Truckin’ Keep on Fishin’ with John Murray John Murray at Suzanne O'Connell Gallery, Brisbane - Keep on Truckin' Keep on Fishin'

John Murray with a portion of his solo exhibition Keep on Truckin' Keep on Fishin

John Murray with a portion of his solo exhibition Keep on Truckin’ Keep on Fishin’

A Girramay Traditional Owner, John Murray, is intensely interested in the world around him and that is reflected in the way he expresses himself.  Some of his interests include his family, camping and fishing, checking out trucks and heavy machinery as well as his creative pursuits – drawing, painting, ceramics and print making

Girringun at SA Museum Manggan - gather, gathers, gathering at South Australia Museum

A new exhibition of contemporary and traditional objects, Manggangather, gathers, gathering was opened recently at the South Australia Museum in Adelaide.

“The Museum is learning how to be a custodian and working with the people from Girringun has made us re-think the way we want to work in the future,” Professor John Carty, Head of Anthropology, South Australia Museum said.

“It seems to me that the museum learnt more out of the process of working with Girringun than they did and we have gained insight into how we can do better exhibitions and displays from this experience.

“Not only do we have to take care of the collections at the museum but we need think about who decides what should be happening with them.

“We need to better engage with communities so that they have a say too and we are grateful to Girringun for being a generous partner in developing this exhibition.”

Dr Valerie Boll led negotiations with the South Australia Museum and travelled with Claude Beeron, Abe Muriata and Debra Murray in August to facilitate access to the material, the first time it has come out of collection storage in recent times.

“It was wonderful teamwork between the two organisations and it is a fantastic opportunity for the public to see rainforest work in a southern state,” Dr Boll said.

“This exhibition carried a positive message and demonstrates the diversity of the rainforest culture of Far North Queensland which is quite different to the rest of Australia.”

Girramay Elder Claude Beeron and Girringun artists Abe Muriata, Ninney Murray and Debra Murray attended the opening together with Curator Dr Valerie Boll of El Arish and Art Centre Manager Valerie Keenan.

“The South Australian Museum has one of the largest institutional collections of traditional objects from the Ingham, Tully and Rockingham Bay areas in Australia,” Valerie Keenan said.

“The objects were collected in the late 1800s and we were fortunate to be able to include very old objects borrowed from the collection in the exhibition.

“The beautiful old objects were augmented by contemporary works by artists working with the Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre.

“Beautiful bicornual baskets by Abe Muriata, eel traps and baskets by Mrs Ninney Murray, two documentaries directed by Debra Murray, ceramics and weavings were included in the exhibition which was a certainly a gathering of mediums, ideas and forms.

“An artist program which included a talk by Abe Muriata and a weaving session with Mrs Ninney Murray was well attended in the exhibition space and forecourt of the Museum.”

The exhibition funded by the Arts Qld Regional Arts Fund will continue until January 29.debra-murray-ninney-murray-with-museum-staff-at-sa-museum-sml

Miss Australia visits Girringun

Miss Australia at Girringun 2016

Local girl Madeline Cowe, currently Miss World Australia, visited the Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre recently.
Crowned Miss World Australia last July and runner up for Miss Universe in 2015 Madeline returned home briefly in between official Miss Australia engagements.
Madeline grew up in Murray Upper on a cane and cattle farm, just to the south of Tully.
“I feels very lucky to be able to grow up in the country side, surrounded by nice and friendly people,” Madeline said.
‘I grew up here in a region very close to my heart.
“One of my best memories is going swimming at the Murray Falls.
“I attended the Murray Upper School and have fond memories, especially learning about Aboriginal culture and songs in the local dialect.”

Emily Murray with Miss Australia Madeline Cowe at Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre in Cardwell

Emily Murray with Miss Australia Madeline Cowe at Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre in Cardwell

Madeline and her mum Sue, joined the Girringun artists for morning tea and for a casual chat.
The purpose of her visit was to choose an artwork to take to the Miss World International Pageant in Washington DC in December.
“Gifts from all the countries represented will be taken to the pageant by the competitors, Madeline said.
“Five of these gifts will be chosen, displayed on stage and auctioned for worldwide children charities during a gala.
“Australia is a new country in terms of white settlement but the Indigenous culture is so old.
“A gift coming from the artists working with the Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre will so well represent Australia.
“I know it will be a hard competition in the US.
“So far, winning my Miss World Australia title is my biggest accomplishment.
“I worked so hard for it and have wanted to do it for such a long time.”

When she was very young, Madeline had no idea what she wanted to aspire to but later decided to study law, with child protection as a specific focus.
“I want to help, to make a difference.
“In remote and rural areas people can’t access such services.
“If you can make life better it is worth it.
“I’m a country girl.
“I can show where I came from and which opportunities I have had.
“I hope younger people will be inspired.’

Madeline’s dream wasn’t to be a model, but it was always in the back of her mind.
One day, ‘OZ next top model’ came to Townsville; she registered, got selected and moved to the next round.
She moved to Sydney for 2 months, started modelling and also began taking part in pageants.
“That’s how I got crowned Miss World Australia,” tells Madeline.
“Modelling is just showing clothes but with pageants you are able to be yourself and relay a message to the public.
“It is more fulfilling.
“It took a lot of dedication and I’m learning so much.
“It is the experience of a lifetime.’

“As Miss World Australia,” Madeline told us, “we visited Aboriginal communities with the Variety Children Charity.
“I went to Elcho Island, in Arnhem Land NT and the community was given a school bus for children with special needs.
The Murray Upper School will also benefit as Madeline will be providing a series of books, part of ‘The Honey Ant Readers’.
These are a series of learn-to-read books with complementary resources, developed for Australian Indigenous learners with traditional Elders, to make literacy learning relevant, meaningful, engaging and fun, using traditional language.

Abe Muriata – Jawun Abe Muriata - weaver of Jawun

Girramay Tradional Owner and weaver Abe Muriata featured in a national online craft magazine recently.

An amazing artist and weaver, Abe has had his work acquired by a number of major collections including the British Museum, the National Gallery of Australia, the National Museum of Australia, the Qld Art Gallery, the University of Qld Art Museum and others.

To read the article go to:

http://garlandmag.com/article/craft-classic-jawun/

Photo:  Abe Muriata with painted Jawun for British Museum. Photo Girringun Aboriginal Corporation

abe-muriata-with-jawun-2015-sml

Bagu with Jiman Bagu with Jiman, the documentary

Tune into NITV tonight, Tuesday September 13th @ 7 pm, to view Bagu with Jiman, a home grown local documentary being screened as part of the NITV Our Stories Our Way series. Directed by Girramay Traditional Owner and artist Debra Murray, the documentary charts the importance of the Bagu with Jiman fire maker as a traditional cultural object to a contemporary art form. Debra has previously directed documentary but this is her broadcast directorial debut. This initiative gives emerging Indigenous filmmakers the opportunity to continue to develop their skills. Working with local producer Jan Cattoni and camera operator Daniel Marolla, and supported by the Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre, the documentary is fully conceived and produced in the north. Show casing the beautiful Murray Upper region (between Tully and Cardwell) it features Girramay Elder Claude Beeron, Gulnay Traditional Owner Clarence Kinjun and Jirrbal Traditional Owner Emily Murray.  Make sure you don’t miss this  opportunity to enjoy the finished work.

Debra Murray and Dan Marolla on location beside the Bagu on the Foreshore in Cardwell

Debra Murray and Dan Marolla on location beside the Bagu on the Foreshore in Cardwell.  Photo Jan Cattoni