2018 saw Erub Arts enjoy its greatest economic growth to date, supported by a number of international projects, award wins, exhibitions and cross-cultural collaborations.
The art centre was invited to expand and develop their Sea Journeys project, with the support and partnership of Tjibaou Cultural Centre Noumea and QAGOMA for the Asia Pacific Triennial 9. Manager Diann Lui, artistic director Lynnette Griffiths, lead artist Jimmy K Thaiday, artist Racy Oui-Pitt, and community representatives Lorna McEwan and Joshua Thaiday made up the team. They travelled to New Caledonia to re-establish family connections and contact as part of the historic story of missionary contact, The Coming of the Light 1871. The resulting work, a 15 metre long charcoal work on paper, extends onto the walls of QAGOMA. The successful opening in November saw an in-conversation talk with curator Diane Moon along with a traditional hymn sung by Erub artists.
The unique ghost net works by Erub artists continue to draw enormous interest and demand. A commission by the Cairns Regional Council for Cairns Performing Art Centre – a 4.5m x 5.6m ghost net work representing Gazir Lagoon on Erub’s northeast side and is the first major work to be on permanent display in a Queensland public venue for Erub Arts.
In September, the centre also facilitated the world’s largest collection of ghost nets hung as a permanent collection at the Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney. This collaborative exhibition including Lynnette Griffiths’ Sardines and Marion Gaemers’ Coral, was previously shown in the Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore and Tarnanthi, Adelaide, and now also includes a traditional canoe with the stars of Tagai as a guiding constellation on its sails.
Erub Arts and collaborating ghost net artists Marion Gaemers and Lynnette Griffiths returned to Martin Browne Contemporary in Sydney with an immersive group exhibition with over 100 works titled A Picture in Ghost Net. This spectacular show, running until 3 February 2019, explores the sea country and its inhabitants between the coastline and the deep water, and features three large coconut trees, and a ‘Wag Wag’ or model racing canoe.
2019 is shaping up as another outstanding year for Erub. Planning is already underway for a commercial show and some exciting cultural research opportunities in England at Cambridge and the British Museum. This project was made possible with combined funding from Arts Queensland, Backing Indigenous Arts program, Australia Council for the Arts, the Department for Communication and the Arts and the Torres Strait Regional Authority. This is another ambitious project that brings ghost net and our ongoing research around culture and the ‘Coming of the Light’ together.
Main image credit: Collaborative ghost net work Kebi Werem, 2018. Image: Lynnette Griffiths & Erub Arts