Artspace hosts stunning cultural exhibitions

Published: 19 Oct 2020

Artspace Mackay is celebrating Australian South Sea Islander and Indigenous culture with two exciting exhibitions running concurrently through November.

Conversations with Australian South Sea Islanders: A Missing Chapter from Australian History is a stunning exhibition featuring 50 oral interviews and charcoal-drawn portraits of Australian South Sea Islanders.

Mayor Greg Williamson said Mackay artist Janet Ambrose had succeeded in capturing more than just the likeness of influential ASSI community members.

“This project didn’t just happen – it’s taken the artist two years to create and the resulting exhibition is captivating,” he said.

“Janet Ambrose has captured the character, the history, the strength and resilience of a group of people who are part of the fabric of our community.”

Conversations with Australian South Sea Islanders is open now and runs in the Foundation Gallery until November 29.

Opening this Friday (October 23) in the Foyer Gallery is Jabu (Land) Birriny (Sea), an exciting exhibition that celebrates the unique environment of Yarrabah and its ongoing importance to culture and people.

Located on the shore of Cape Grafton in Far North Queensland, Yarrabah is the traditional Country of the Gunggandji People with a dynamic Aboriginal community surrounded by tropical native bushland and mountain ranges united by sandy coastlines and coral reefs.

Mayor Greg Williamson said the exhibition used vibrant prints, intricately woven vessels and textured ceramics to bring together stories, history and tradition focused on the land and sea.

“Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of this touring exhibition is the array of public and education programs on offer right here in Mackay over the exhibition opening weekend,” Mayor Williamson said.

“These range from a free webinar for educators about connecting art with Indigenous language to one-on-one artist consultations, facilitated Blaklash Creative, to provide local artists an opportunity to discuss their practice with arts industry professionals.”

Presented by Flying Arts, the exhibition has been co-curated by State Library of Queensland with Yarrabah Arts and Cultural Precinct.  It is on show until January 17.

The array of public and education programs on offer includes:

  • Free professional development webinar for educators on Connecting art with Indigenous Language - Thursday, October 22, from 3.30pm to 4.45pm
  • One-on-one artist consultations with Blaklash Creative - Friday, October 23, from 9am to 5pm
  • An exhibition development program facilitated by Blaklash Creative - Saturday, October 24, noon to 5pm and Sunday, October 25, 10am to 4pm.

To register for one of the public or education programs, or to attend the exhibition opening of Jabu Birriny this Friday night, head to Artspace Mackay website.