Already occupied - SEPTEMBER 2017 (ON-GOING, This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body ).
ALREADY OCCUPIED has its genesis in my participation in the March 2017 Gold Coast City Council’s 4th South Stradbroke Island Indigenous Artist Camp, under the mentorship of internationally acclaimed artist Judy Watson.
The images record the works in progress created during this 5 day Artist camp experience and works exhibited at the Cross Currents Exhibition, Arts Centre Gold Coast and works attached to a social media component of the work.
ALREADY OCCUPIED recodes everyday signage - such as those used for traffic control - into critical markers of Aboriginal sovereignty in a contemporary art context.
This exploratory works, exhibited under the title “Sovereign Signs” was selected for exhibition with that of other participants at the Gold Coast City Gallery in the Cross Currents Exhibition at The Arts Centre Gold Coast, in September 2017.
KUNGA - MARCH 2017
KUNGA - meaning (in Yugambeh- the traditional language spoken in the Gold Coast area) “to call out and to listen” was shown at The Walls - an Independent Artist-run space at Miami on the Gold Coast - in ", an exhibition curated by Danni Zuvela, from 4 – 18 March 2017.
The curatorial premise for “Enter the Map” engaged selected artists in interpreting the meaning of place in terms of their own life and experience. Three Artists created three new maps of the city. My contribution presented a First Nation's cultural ways of knowing and moving through country alongside that of Carlotta - one of Kings Cross’ most famous daughters: a drag queen of the golden era and Scott Redford an acclaimed international contemporary artist.
In the process of making this work and collaborating with Kombumerri man John Graham, I received the Yugambeh word ‘kunga’ which means to both call out and to listen.
In Tallebudgerra creek, with my children holding in the present the ongoing connections of our Quandamooka Ancestors , the paths they have trodden and their relationship with this Yugambeh country and its people I understand through Kunga and Kungullanji.
My map involved the spectator exploring the sight lines from points along Tallebudgera Creek to Wollumbin (Mt Warning) and Jellurgal (Burleigh Headland), journeying by land and watercraft.
CUSTODIAN - OCTOBER 2016
This work was installed in “Dhanamenta2”, a curated exhibition at The Walls gallery, Miami, Gold Coast.
I loved collecting the sand and mud and making it. I let the Tallebudgera river talk up through the bitumen. I just walked through the water in the morning and listened to it while I collected materials. Now I look at the work I think It's about how custodianship of the land is managed under white law - it's about how we still see country through the bitumen and it is also a site marked by witches hats that someone has named custodian. Maybe a HAZARD.
GURIBA, YUNGGULBA, YABRUMA
GURIBA, YUNGGULBA,YABRUMA : (ebb tide, flood tide, always doing) – Always in the tides APRIL 2016
This work is a work in progress continuing on from a recent work YABRUMA shown at The Walls in November 2015. YABRUMA was created in Mud in the Tallebudgerra Creek. This work GURIBA, YUNGGULBA,YABRUMA was created both on South Stradbroke Island and recreated in installation here at Bundall on the Gold Coast with mud, seagrass and sand from Tallebudgerra, Tweed River and South and North Stradbroke Island. Yugambeh, Nganduwal and Quandamooka country,
Following the traditions of my Ancestors, the Ngugi people of the Quandamooka (Moreton Bay), I endeavour to negotiate respectfully, both with family Elders, and with Elder custodians of Jellurgul (“Big Burleigh”), Jebbribillum (“Little Burleigh”) and the broader cultural landscape. In times past, the presence of the Quandamooka tribes on the country between Tallebudgera Creek and the Tweed River – the Traditional lands of the Nganduwal people - would have been by invitation to participate in cultural events at their large campsite, subsequently intersected by Qld./NSW border.
The materials I have used to create this work come from saltwater country – the sea and the shoreline, where they appear and reappear where the tides take them – always in the tides.
YABRUMA - A Yugambeh word for always doing - NOVEMBER 2015
This work was installed in “Headland”, an exhibition at The Walls Gallery curated by Rebecca Ross and Danni Zuvela
There is something vitally important for me in the Listening and being with and honouring the simplicity of my work; that it is not over explained in a language not of its essence. - A language not from country. The act of creating is my woman’s business and the BANGAN(mud) or seaweed or mangroves or sea grass are valid enough without being contextualised. In fact they are more valid to me than the context or meaning made of them.
I create the art only to bring this out and the story I see in it. Holding my own integrity to validate the MUD, which in its existence as REAL – maybe a "real” acknowledgement of Traditional Laws and REAL observance of Traditional Customs - feels like a form of resistance. Resistance in response to the legal determination in the Yorta Yorta Native Title claim by Justice Olney (1998) that
,,,the tide of (his)story has washed away any real acknowledgement of traditional laws and any real observance of traditional customs
My work asks for a deep sense of listening. If I Listen to the mud and watch the tide wash in and out and the landscape change, I listen to the mangroves as they take root and hold ground … if listen to their seeds drift with the tide to take hold elsewhere on the shorelines … I will be more and know more about everything - about past present and future. About me and my children and my relationship to everything.
It is somehow appropriate that I was drawn to the Mangroves as the context for my new work, and to discover, through this process, that my ancestors - WIDJUMBAREGUN, daughter of Junobin and Gonsales, THE MANILA MAN are named, each in their own culture, for plants that grow within the area of mangroves where they were born.
BEFORE TRODDEN DENIED
BEFORE TRODDEN DENIED - April 2015
This work was created on the 2015 Gold Coast Indigenous Artist Camp under the mentorship of International artist Fiona Foley
The work was shown as a short film in at the Gold Coast city Gallery in My Story Exhibition
When I tredon country I am re-telling myself stories I have heard from my family. I am re-membering things that have been passed down to me, bringing them into consciousness. I am wondering what my Ancestors were thinking, feeling and doing here before me and how much of that I carry with me now and into the future.
During the week on Sth Straddie we spoke of the history of post-contact Australia and I contemplated further on my Grandfather and Grandmothers and wondered how they felt about decisions they made and were forced to make. I contemplated on how, as a result, I had carried a sense of being disconnected and denied into the present and why I had not always been able to understand this feeling.
The process of creating this art work was a personal ceremony - a culmination of my experience on the island and of my experiences of growing up in my extended family where some things were known and understood implicitly. Creating this work then became a means to share with others what being on country that week meant for me. It is important to me that this work is made from our saltwater country - seaweed, mangroves, washed up debris and that the work is ephemeral.
This work is an expression of my story and connection to country and shows that what went before me is still present. Country and culture that was trodden and cared for by Ancestors is very much alive today despite that country and culture being trodden on and access denied to our people through its appropriation under British law.
The opportunity to participate in the artists camp and create this work enabled me to place the feeling of being denied into cultural and socio- historical context, and to re-present part of my family story through a ceremony of art-making.