My Country I Still Call Australia Home: Contemporary Art From Black Australia

My Country I Still Call Australia Home: Contemporary Art from Black Australia was the Queensland Art Gallery|Gallery of Modern Art's largest exhibition of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art to date, held from 1 June to 7 September 2013. Curated by Bruce McLean, the exhibition examined the strength of QAG's collection while exploring three central themes- presenting Indigenous views of history (My history), responding to contemporary politics and experiences (My life) and illustrating connections to place (My country).

A large collection of Banumbirr (Morning Star Poles) formed a powerful display at Gallery of Modern Art. Artists featured were Richard Galngadiwuy, Richard Gandhuwuy Garrawurra, David Lakarriny Gurruwiwi, Gali Yalkarriwuy Gurruwiwi, Henry Dhalnganda Gurriwiwi, Paul Gurruwiwi, Trevor Barrara Gurruwiwi, Wilson Landydjurra, Henry Gambika Nupurra and Terry Dhurritjini, and the late Ian Wuruwul  and Frank Djekula.

Selected works from My Country I Still Call Australia Home: Contemporary Art from Black Australia are currently exhibited at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki from 28 March until 17 August 2014.


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Installation Images: Bamnumbirr featured in My Country I Still Call Australia Home: Contemporary Art From Black Australia, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane. Image courtesy Queensland Art Gallery|Gallery of Modern Art.

Installation Images: Bamnumbirr featured in My Country I Still Call Australia Home: Contemporary Art From Black Australia, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane. Image courtesy Queensland Art Gallery|Gallery of Modern Art.


David Djarrka and Wendy Galanini exhibit Mokuy at Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne

Husband and wife collaborators David Djarrka and Wendy Galanini exhibited a collection of Mokuy sculptures at Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, from 15 April to 16 May 2014. Carved from milkwood, painted with natural ochres and adorned with bush string and feather ceremonial dress, the large scale Mokuy were some of the most ambitious the artists have created to date. 

Mokuy are ghosts or spirit men; different Mokuy belong to different clans and have unique personalities. The artists have authorisation to paint and carve the stories of the Djambarrpuyngu clan. David has described his artistic process in this way: "I close my eyes and think about the Mokuy. I see him and I carve and paint how he appears to me... big or small, with dots or feathers for ceremony, red or black or other colours".

Mokuy by David Djarrka and Wendy Galanini. Photo courtesy of Alcaston Gallery

Mokuy by David Djarrka and Wendy Galanini. Photo courtesy of Alcaston Gallery

Mavis Ganambarr and Rosemary Mamuniny at Australian Indigenous Fashion Week

Mavis Ganambarr and Rosemary Mamuniny were invited to create a collection of textiles and jewellery for Australian Indigenous Fashion Week, held in Sydney from 11-13 April 2014. Their designs were selected to feature in the opening runway, led by AIFW ambassador, model Samantha Harris.

Mavis Ganambarr's Pandanas Tunic and Necklace on the runway at AIFW 2014. Photo Hamish Gregory.

Mavis Ganambarr's Pandanas Tunic and Necklace on the runway at AIFW 2014. Photo Hamish Gregory.

Rosemary Mamuniny's Shark Cartilage and Feather Necklaces with Pandanas and Feather Skirt on the runway at AIFW 2014. Photo Hamish Gregory.

Rosemary Mamuniny's Shark Cartilage and Feather Necklaces with Pandanas and Feather Skirt on the runway at AIFW 2014. Photo Hamish Gregory.

Weavers collaborate with Koskela for Milan Design Week

Master weavers Mavis Ganambarr, with her daughter Verity Burarrwanga, and Judy Manany, with her daughter Sharon Djalambarr, partnered with Koskela on an exciting new design project launched at Ventura Lambrate, Milan in April 2014. Ventura Lambrate, the largest furniture fair in the world, was held during Milan Design Week. The Hoodie Integrated, a desk design product for which Koskela won an IDEA Award for in 2013, was presented in three formats at the event; Classic, Illustrated and Woven.

When approached by Sasha and Russel from Koskela with the new concept Mavis, Verity, Judy and Sharon jumped at the challenge, which included hours spent collecting and dying pandanas then painstakingly weaving the Hoodie frames- not to mention the logistics of getting the huge frames from Sydney to Elcho Island and back, then on to Milan!

Artists from Elcho Island Arts have been collaborating with Koskela since 2009 on the Yuta Badayala lampshade project. For more information on the Woven Hoodie Integrated contact Koskela, Sydney.

Judy Manany and daughter Sharon Djalambarr weaving their Hoodie for Koskela at their home on Elcho Island, NT.

Judy Manany and daughter Sharon Djalambarr weaving their Hoodie for Koskela at their home on Elcho Island, NT.

The completed Woven Hoodie Integrated on display at Ventura Lambrate, Milan.

The completed Woven Hoodie Integrated on display at Ventura Lambrate, Milan.



Worrwurr - Judy Manany and Megan Yunupingu exhibition at Alcaston Gallery

Artists Judy Manany and Megan Yunupingu's exhibition Worrwurr (Owl) was held at Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne from 18 November to 19 December 2013. The exhibition of milk wood carvings painted with natural ochres was a sell out show, and the artists were pleased to be able to make the journey to Melbourne for the opening event.

Worrwurr by Judy Manany and Megan Yunupingu. Photo: Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne

Worrwurr by Judy Manany and Megan Yunupingu. Photo: Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne

Elcho Island Artists exhibit at 2nd International Triennale of Kogei (Craft), Japan

Artists from Elcho Island Arts were among a group of 20 indigenous Australian artists who exhibited at the 2nd International Triennale of Kogei (Craft), at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan.

Curated by Steven Pozel and Lisa Cahill, the Australian representation included 36 works by many of the artists and communities who have taken part in exhibitions over the past decade at Object Australian Design Centre, Sydney. Almost 37,500 people flocked to see the Australian Exhibition which included stunning Yuta Badayala lampshades by Mavis Warrngilna Ganambarr, Judy MananyMegan Yunipingu and Sharon Djalambarr. The lampshades are an ongoing collaboration between our weavers and Koskela, Sydney.

Other artists exhibited include: Danie Mellor; Lorraine Connelly-Northey; Lola Greeno; Regina Wilson; Anne Dixon; Eunice Yunurupa Porter Warakurna; Ruby Gubiyarrawuy Guyula; Penny Milingu Wanapuyngu; Lucy Malirrimurruwuy Wanapuyngu; Nellie Nambayana; Florence Minyjway Ashley; Linda Minawala Bidingal; Roseanne Maywada Malibirr; Mary Jinguwaraba; Susan Balbunga and Noreen Maday Ashley.

Elcho Island Arts would like to thank Object Australian Design Centre and Koskela for their ongoing support.

Yuta Badayala Lampshades at 2nd International Triennale of Kogei, Japan. Image courtesy Obect Australian Design Centre.

Yuta Badayala Lampshades at 2nd International Triennale of Kogei, Japan. Image courtesy Obect Australian Design Centre.


Yuta Badayala Lampshade Project

The Yuta Badayala lampshade project is an exciting collaboration between the Elcho Island weavers and Koskela, Sydney.

The lampshade structures are designed and provided by Koskela for the artists to interpret any way they choose. The artists have demonstrated the skill of their craft throughout this project, weaving each lampshade by hand with natural materials to produce these creative and truly unique pieces.

A  Yuta Badayala lampshade by Mavis Ganambarr was recently spotted in the stunning Sydney home of Tamsin and Patrick Johnson, as featured in The Design Files.

Available exclusively through Koskela, Sydney. For purchase enquiries visit their website.

Lampshade by Mavis Ganambarr, a collaborative project with the Elcho Island Weavers and Koskela, Sydney. From The Deign Files feature of the Sydney  home of Tamsin and Patrick Johnson. Photo: Sean Fennessy, Production:  Lucy Feagins/The Design Files.

Lampshade by Mavis Ganambarr, a collaborative project with the Elcho Island Weavers and Koskela, Sydney. From The Deign Files feature of the Sydney  home of Tamsin and Patrick Johnson. Photo: Sean Fennessy, Production:  Lucy Feagins/The Design Files.

Painting Workshop at Elcho Island Arts

In September the art centre held a two week acrylic painting workshop with arts development worker Sean Smith and three female artists; Ruth Lulwarriwuy, Mavis Warrngilna Ganambarr, and Margaret Dhorrpuy. Artists were given large stretched canvases and had the freedom to paint anything.

Mavis painted two stunning paintings of sun mats. She mixed earth pigments and acrylic paint on the same canvas, creating tension between the differing qualities of the medium, creating a shimmering effect. Margaret Dhorrpuy painted ladies djama (work), depicting her and other artists collecting pandanas in a colourful Elcho Island landscape. Lastly, Ruth Lulwarriwuy continued her Dhuwa and Yirritja dog series creating bright abstracted landscapes of various homelands for her dogs to playfully inhabit, but embedded with sacred stories. 

Artist Ruth Lulwarriwuy working on one of her large Dhuwa and Yirritja dog paintings.

Sun Mat by Mavis Warrngilna Ganambarr

Acrylic and natural earth pigments on canvas  

100 x 100cm

Pandanas Collecting with the Ladies in the Blue Troupie by Margaret Dhorrpuy

Acrylic on canvas

91 x 152cm

Elcho Island Artists finalists in Togart Contemporary Art Award 2013

Congratulations to Judy Manany, David Djarrka, Wendy Galanini, and Ruth Lulwarriwuy for being selected as finalists in this years Togart Contemporary Art Awards, which will be held in Darwin later this year. Selected were Judy's Echidna carvings, David and Wendy's Mokuy carvings, and Ruth Lulwarriwuy's cheeky Dhuwa and Yirritja Dogs painting. We cannot wait to see the other finalists selected at the official launch. 

Click to see Togart Contemporary Art  Award 2013 Catalogue

Echidna by Judy Manany

Acrylic paint on milkwood.