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Susan Balbunga | Mandy Batjula | Elisa Jane Carmichae | Sonja Carmichael | Fiona Elisala-Mosby | Janet Fieldhouse | Helen Ganalmirriwuy | Ruth Nalmakarra | Paula Savage | Lucy Simpson | Delissa Walker

long water: fibre stories

3 September — 23 October 2021

Gallery 2 | NorthSite

Elisa Jane Carmichael, Carrying Fish Trap 1–2, 2018/2019, Ghost net, synthetic fibre, raffia, yarn, wool, cane, wire, fish scales, Photo: Marc Pricop

Like a confluence—where bodies of water meet—long water: fibre stories travels across place to bring together fibre practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women from different generations, experiences and ancestries.

The featured artists include community Elders, leaders, and younger artists, working in collaboration with collective and family memory or with their kin, community, or art centre to nurture, preserve, and share culture through fibre-based forms. These artists all carry a spirited attachment to water.

The places or passages traced in this exhibition are as follows: the vital fresh water rivers of Yuwaalaraay country (North West NSW); the abundant salt water and fresh waters of Quandamooka country (Moreton Bay, South East Qld); the place where sea and tropical rainforest meet on Kuku Yalanji country (Far North Qld); the brilliant turquoise waters and clusters of islands in Torres Strait region (Far North Qld; and finally, the seas surrounding the spirited lands and waters of Yurrwi (Milingimbi Island, NT), and neighbouring homelands in far North East Arnhem Land (NT).

The artists in this exhibition make clear that their relationships to water are both unbreakable and complexly interwoven with all other elements that sustain life, culture, identity and spirituality. Their artworks remind us that to weave is to honour the ways of water, to care for the environment and systems that support important water sites, and to acknowledge that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures flow from a deep and eternal source—Ancestors and country.

long water: fibre stories is curated by Freja Carmichael, a Ngugi woman from Quandamooka country.

This exhibition has been developed through relationships with artists and communities, particularly the Milingimbi Art and Culture Centre, and Moa Arts.

long water: fibre stories has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, the Australian Government’s Visions of Australia program, and String Harvest.

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