Nephi Denham with his Bagu in Clay Stories. Image: Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery

Girringun artists enjoy successful touring exhibitions and workshops

Girringun’s exhibition, Manggan – Gather, Gathers, Gathering, has continued its tour to include two more galleries; the Caloundra Regional Gallery and the Grafton Regional Art Gallery. At both venues, the Welcomes to Country were very personal and powerful and new friendships were established between Gabi Gabi Elder Helena Gulash in Caloundra, and Bundjalung and Gumbaynggirr Elder Uncle Roger Duroux in Grafton. Weaving workshops were also held at both locations and artist, Abe Muriata did presentations about the Girringun Art Centre, weaving and Fake Art.

Artist Deborah Murray says: ”I had a chance to travel with Aunty Theresa Beeron to run a weaving workshop at Gympie late last year. There were a lot of people who had never heard about Mindi and what they are used for. We showed people the mat rush or lomandra grass but they found it easier to work with the recycled wire we had. It was a fun day. I’m glad I got a chance to do this with Aunty Theresa. I understand that our old people are getting old and we are going to lose them. It’s time that we as mother, father, uncle, aunty, grandmother and grandfather start getting our kids back to culture. To learn and speak language. Because when they are gone so is our culture. It makes me sad to see what other people are missing out on when they don’t spend time with their Elders.”

In other news Clay Stories toured to Gladstone Regional Art Gallery and is currently at Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery. This touring exhibition included ceramic work from the Girringun, Hermmansberg, Tiwi Islands, Ernabella and Erub Art Centres. Nephi was the tutor for two overbooked ceramics workshops during the trip – his first ever. He said he was quite nervous to start with but was very happy at the end and they were a great success.

Also Nephi Denham and Deborah Murray were invited to work with the Townsville Museum. Deborah Murray says: “We were very lucky to have the chance to go under the museum to see what they have there from Jirrbal, Girramay and other Girringun tribes. It was good as both Nephi and I saw work there that had been made by our grandparents. We learnt about how the museum keeps things in very good nick. They go to a lot of hard work to keep them like that. They showed us how to do photography and asked us if we could help them with language names for the things they have. I told them that when we get back home we will have to get permission from the Elders as that is the right way for us to do things. We are lucky to be part of the Girringun Art Centre and want to thank the ladies at the museum because we never had the opportunity to see these things in the museum before.”

Lastly, manager Valerie Keenan has been awarded the Vida Lahey Travel Scholarship by the Queensland Art Gallery for a personal project where she aims to undertake research in Norway on objects collected by Carl Lumholtz.

Main image credit: Nephi Denham with his Bagu in Clay Stories. Image: Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery

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