First Nations artists get dedicated display space

May 7, 2023 BY

Creatives: Artist and member of the stolen generation Thomas Marks said he is glad there is now a space in Ballarat for indigenous artists. Photo: MIRIAM LITWIN

A GALLERY dedicated to First Nations art opened on Mair Street last Friday, with support from the State Government.

A project of the Ballarat & District Aboriginal Cooperative, the Perridak Art Gallery was formally opened by member for Wendouree, Juliana Addison.

The space will house the works of more than 40 Aboriginal artists from Ballarat and across Australia in two rooms.

“Perridak Art Gallery by BADAC will showcase Aboriginal art and culture in the heart of Ballarat and provide a place for local artists to display and sell their art,” said Ms Addison.

“Perridak, meaning platypus in Wadawurrung, will be an inclusive and welcoming gallery space for community members enabling to develop a greater understanding of Aboriginal storytelling, art and culture.”

The new gallery is part of a push by BADAC to help First Nations communities through a range of development programs.

“Art is a connection to and expression of Aboriginal culture,” said BADAC CEO Karen Heap.

“Art is a way the whole community can connect to Aboriginal stories and our ways of seeing the world, in all its richness and variety.

“I’m encouraging everyone to visit Perridak Arts, enjoy Aboriginal culture and support our local artists.”

Thomas Marks is a member of the stolen generation and one of the artists whose work will soon go on display.

“On a personal level, I’m glad that they’ve added this place for artists within Ballarat because I don’t think we’ve really had any space to exhibit our artwork so I’m so glad they’ve gotten to this point,” he said.

“I never grew up with my family and my culture so the only way I could connect was to do it through poems and artwork around that.

“It was all about getting that bit of confidence up.”

The State Government contributed $200,000 to the project as part of the Living Local Fund, which has spent more than $36 billion in regional and rural Victoria since 2015.