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Bundjalung Art is a Common Language

Many dialects are spoken within the Bundjalung Nation whose boundaries encompass the Northern Rivers and beyond. However, art is an increasingly common language and this bond was further consolidated by an important exhibition of Indigenous works staged at Lismore City Hall in mid-May.

The Ngarakbal Githabal Dialect Exhibition marked the culmination of a three-year Bundjalung project developed by Arts Northern Rivers. The aim was to reconnect artists with early mark making techniques to inspire a new Aboriginal art movement based on original cultural designs.

The body, funded by state and federal governments and local Councils, will continue to support the investigation, rediscovery and connection to cultural heritage by the current generation of custodians.

Indigenous artists from all Bundjalung dialects were invited to submit works for this final exhibition exploring Bootheram Law which uses landscape and the sky as a reference for creation lore.

A total of 67 works were submitted for the show, with exhibitors including well known names like Oral Roberts, Rhoda Roberts, Gilbert Laurie, Digby Moran, and Michael Philp and Penny Evans (the last two have been featured in previous issues of GP Speak).

In keeping with the ‘dialects’ theme, the well-attended exhibition opening featured speeches in language, a smoking ceremony and traditional music from didgeridoo and clapsticks.

Koori Art Smoking Ceremony 2

Another Arts Northern Rivers involvement is the Elders Book project aimed at producing, with the help of ‘crowd funding’, a book titled Our Way Stories recording the life experiences of local Elders for future generations.

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