The Bundjalung Project
This 3-year project is about rediscovering Aboriginal mark-making traditions; reconnecting Bundjalung Aboriginal artists and their communities with their heritage; exploring earl art from within the region; and to assist local Indigenous artists to develop a unique style for our region through the incorporation of ancient markings and motifs into contemporary Indigenous works.
The project focuses on the significance of traditional mark-making practices and explores how these practices can influence our approach to developing contemporary images. There will be an emphasis on continuing investigations post project in mark-making experiences including the layering of messages (signs, symbols and meaning); visual communication and the use of varying textures.
It is envisaged the project will yield intriguing links to contemporary approaches to Aboriginal art production in the Northern Rivers region.
The first phase of the project involved the development of report that outlined key stakeholders as well as collecting institutions both locally and nationally that hold artefacts from the region. The report also included recommendations for project activity that would support the over arching aims of the Bundjalung project.
In 2013/14 Arts Northern Rivers undertook a research phase of the project that identified the types and quantity of artefacts held in local historical societies and museums. The information from this research will be shared with Indigenous artists and project stakeholders and access to these artefacts will be negotiated.
In 2015 we will develop a number of workshops and exhibitions aimed at exploring ways to interpret the designs and mark-making techniques from these artefacts to inform contemporary arts practice by local Aboriginal artists. Observation of appropriate protocols will be paramount throughout this project.
The project will also include the Gulli-Bal Living Culture Group – a group of Indigenous women rediscovering and teaching basket-making techniques in the Kyogle and Lismore regions. The group is also closely connected with the British Museum and Australian National Museum Encounters Exhibition that will see items from the Mary Bundock basket collection toured to Australia in 2015.
This project has been funded through the Federal Government’s Ministry for the Arts Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support program.