A group of leading contemporary Aboriginal artists will be attending the 2017 Myall Creek Memorial event on Sunday 11 June 2017 as part of a major artistic project which will be shown in Armidale at the New England Regional Art Museum (NERAM) next year.
The Brisbane based Aboriginal artist and curator Bianca Beetson has been appointed as Guest Curator of the Myall Creek and beyond project and has worked with the team at NERAM to select a group of outstanding contemporary Aboriginal artists to take part in the residency and exhibition including Fiona Foley, Judy Watson, Robert Andrew and Laurie Nilsen.
The group will attend the memorial event near the remote New England town of Bingara and then spend time around the region meeting with community members, researching the place, its history and culture and learning more about the tragic events which happened there 179 years ago.
“This is an opportunity for these artists to learn about the Myall Creek Massacre on the site and take part in one of the great reconciliation events in our country,” said Robert Heather, Art Museum Director. “They will be there to participate in the annual memorial event organised by the Friends of Myall Creek which attracts hundreds of people from around Australia each year.”
“Every June people travel long distances to participate in this solemn and moving event at the site where twenty eight Aboriginal people were murdered by a group of stockmen and squatters in 1838, the only time that the white perpetrators of a massacre were rounded up and put on trial,” he said. “Unfortunately the successful prosecution of these murderers mostly succeeded in ensuring communities kept these terrible events of the Frontier War secret from the authorities.”
“The works created as a result of this residency will be exhibited at NERAM in 2018 to coincide with the 180th anniversary of the massacre and we see this as an opportunity to start a broader regional and national dialogue about the significance of this event.”
Guest Curator Bianca Beetson is a Gubbi Gubbi/Waradjuri woman who has been shown in many exhibitions around Australia and is currently lecturing in Contemporary Indigenous Art at Queensland College of Art, Griffith University in Brisbane.
Internationally recognised artist Fiona Foley is a writer, curator and academic whose challenging artworks examine and dismantle historical stereotypes and explores a broad range of themes that relate to politics, culture, ownership, language and identity.
Judy Watson’s artworks include painting, printmaking, drawing, sculpture and video and are often inspired by Aboriginal history and culture. Her work is often concerned with collective memory and uses archival documents to unveil institutionalised discrimination against Aboriginal people.
Robert Andrew’s artwork explores his Australian Indigenous history via his installation based practice and has been shown in cities and towns around Australia including Melbourne, Cairns, Brisbane and Geelong.
In 1988 sculptor Laurie Nilsen was one of the first urban based Aboriginal artists to have his worked purchased by the National Gallery of Australia and also won the prestigious 2007 Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award.
The Myall Creek and beyond artist-in-residence project is a partnership between the New England Regional Art Museum and the Friends of Myall Creek and this stage of the project has been funded by the Regional Arts Fund.
Myall Creek and Beyond
Exhibition dates: 8 June – 14 October 2018
A partnership between the New England Regional Art Museum and the Friends of Myall Creek
Supported by the Regional Arts Fund