Long awaited NAIDOC Week art exhibition opens in Anglesea

September 18, 2021 BY

Portal local area coordinator Michelle Conn (left) and Anglesea Art Space coordinator Helen Gibbins (right) hanging a work. Photo: SUPPLIED

NAIDOC Week ran back in early July, but several lockdowns have seen the Heal Country! Art Exhibition pushed back again and again.

The Surf Coast Shire has finally opened up the exhibition after months of postponements on Wednesday, September 15.

The exhibition will run through to September 26 at the Anglesea Art Space following the recent easing of restrictions in regional Victoria.

Four proud female First Nations artists will share their work reflecting on Country and revealing the vitality of Aboriginal culture today on Wadawurrung land.

The four women are Wathaurong and Gunditjmara woman Naomi Edwards, Gunditjmaar/Keeray Woorong sisters Kelsey and Tarryn Love, and Yorta Yorta/Baraparapa woman Dr Jenny Murray-Jones, lecturer in visual art at Deakin University.

This exhibition invites every Australian from all walks of life to celebrate the history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, with an abundance of stories to be told, deputy mayor Liz Pattison said.

“It will create a space for people to reflect on the meaning of the works and words, think about what it means for us to be living on Country, and what Country means to us,” Cr Pattison said.

“And of course it will provide opportunity to connect with the NAIDOC theme Heal Country! which calls on people from all walks to seek greater protections for our land and water, First Nations heritage and sacred sites.

“It will provide an opportunity to embrace the extraordinarily close relationship that First Nations people have had with Country for millennia.”

The shire also wanted to reiterate that it acknowledges that the Wadawurrung People and the Guilidjan and Gadubanud Peoples of the Eastern Maar, are the traditional custodians of the land it now calls Surf Coast Shire.

“We acknowledge their custodianship, and all other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People who are part of our Surf Coast Shire community. We value the special spiritual and material relationship that they have with the land and water, including the trees, rocks, hills, valleys, creeks, rivers and ocean of the Surf Coast and hinterland. We are committed to reconciliation.”

The Heal Country! Exhibition will be open between 10am and 4pm Wednesday to Sunday, with COVID-19 protocols in place.

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