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NAIDOC Week: First Nations Reflections
In celebration of NAIDOC Week, we are highlighting past Reflections featuring First Nations artists, artworks and material culture.

Catch up on video and written Reflections, which provide insight into past exhibitions from James Henry and Alvin Darcy Briggs; approaches to landscape in contemporary First Nations painting; a discussion about the role of objects in the proud repatriation of Indigenous knowledge from Tiriki Onus (Yorta Yorta, Dja Dja Wurrung); and discover Aunty Julie McHale's (Palawa) deep knowledge of Bush Tucker on Jaara Country. 
Watch: Video Reflection: Orbit: Alvin Darcy Briggs
Video Reflection: Alvin Darcy Briggs
Alvin Darcy Briggs is a Yorta Yorta, Taungurung and Nario, Walbunja artist living and working in Castlemaine. In this Video Reflection, Alvin Darcy Briggs reflects on his practice and the art of pyrography, which means ‘writing with fire’.

"The large piece took me between 80 to 100 hours, using most, if not all, of the techniques I’ve learnt over the years. I’ve tried to capture the fragility and the power of the land and of what culture and knowledge we have left. I’ve used the realistic images of the Kangaroo and Emu in contrast with the cultural style of them both to capture their spirit, which are both important to the spirit of Australia." - Alvin Darcy Briggs


Watch the Video Reflection here.
Watch: Video Reflection: James Henry: 18 Families
Video Reflection: James Henry
In this Video Reflection, First Nations artist James Henry reflects on his exhibition 18 Families at Castlemaine Art Museum. 18 Families recognises the 18 ancestors whose descendants make up the thriving Jaara community who live in, around and beyond Castlemaine today. In the first exhibition of this commission, Henry presents photographs of four families on country or in local parks, with the desire to photograph all 18 Families over time.

Watch the Video Reflection here.
View more Video Reflections
Dja Dja Wurrung, Jaara, Bark etching, before 1854. Eucalyptus bark with incised depiction of kangaroo, man throwing spear and three other male figures. Collected by John Hunter Kerr at Fennyhurst Pastoral station on Kinypanial Creek in northern Victoria, 30kms south of Boort, close to the Loddon River. Collection: The British Museum.
Reflection: Tiriki Onus on repatriating First Nations knowledge
Tiriki Onus (Yorta Yorta, Dja Dja Wurrung) proposes a new way of thinking about First Nations artefacts held in museum collections. Onus brings a remarkably broad range of experience as a visual artist, musician and educator to leading a discussion about the role of objects in the proud repatriation of Indigenous knowledge. Tiriki Onus is a CAM Board Member and Associate Dean Indigenous Development and Head of the Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts and Cultural Development, University of Melbourne.

Read Tiriki Onus' Reflection here.
Coolamon (Carrying Receptacle). Collection: Castlemaine Art Museum. Gift of Mrs. D Ireland (Keiller Collection) Central Australia 1921. Image: Felix Wilson. Please note, information accompanying First Nations' material culture and art in the CAM collection is often insufficient or incorrect. Please contact CAM if you can offer corrections or additional information.
Reflection: Aunty Julie McHale on Bush Tucker
Aunty Julie McHale (Palawa) shares with us her deep knowledge of Bush Tucker, particularly on Jaara Country. Aunty Julie is a passionate advocate for Bush Tucker in many ways, from teaching and presenting workshops; her engagement with renowned Indigenous catering service Murnong Mummas, through to the significant new project of establishing a Bush Tucker farm at Harcourt, a short drive from Castlemaine. Accompanying this Reflection are images from the CAM collection of First Nations' art and material culture.

Read Aunty Julie McHale's Reflection here.
Installation view: Ginger Riley: The Boss of Colour, Castlemaine Art Museum, 2015. Image: James McArdle
Reflection: Chris Capper on Ginger Riley Munduwalawala and Betty Kuntiwa Pumani
In reflecting on approaches to landscape in contemporary First Nation’s painting, Chris Capper declares the exhibition Ginger Riley: The Boss of Colour (15 January―19 April 2015) and the work of Betty Kuntiwa Pumani as hugely significant in rethinking the landscape tradition in Australia. Chris lived and worked in the Northern Territory for almost 40 years, living on Larrakia land in Darwin. His work roles included supporting Aboriginal community and organisation governance and development, and working with Aboriginal artists and art centres. As Director Arts NT in the NT government, he was responsible for the first Indigenous Arts Strategy in Australia, which enabled significant increases in funding and support for Indigenous arts and development. 

Read Chris Capper's Reflection here.
Explore past Reflections
CAM acknowledges with respect the Dja Dja Wurrung as the Traditional Owners of the land on which Castlemaine has been established.
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