The Bush people’s walking path ways of Country site’s and story place

Heather Koowootha is a visual storyteller who documents and shares cultural knowledge learnt through her family and kin from a young age. The Bush people’s walking path ways of Country site’s and story places is a series of watercolours on paper that share traditional ecological knowledge of plants. Collectively, they represent an interrelated web linking people and Country across time.

Location: NorthSite exhibition stand at Cairns Convention Centre for CIAF 2023: Cnr Wharf & Sheridan Street, Cairns 4870 Queensland Australia

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This work was commissioned by Carriageworks for The National 4: New Australian Art Now (2023) and supported by NorthSite Contemporary Arts, Cairns.


Keemon Williams (b.1999) is a queer Meanjin (Brisbane) based artist of Koa, Kuku Yalanji and Meriam Mir descent. He utilizes an array of mediums old and new to expand his relationships with location, personal histories and cultural plasticity. Through practice he forges belonging within all parts of the self.

Moa Arts — Malu Bardthar Dapar | Sea Land Sky

Through their printmaking and weaving practices, the artists of Moa investigate and reinterpret Melanesian mark marking, explore political and sociological storytelling related to Torres Strait culture, history and identity, building upon a rich audio-visual archive of traditional mythology. These senior and emerging artists come together at Moa Arts Centre, (Ngalmun Lagau Minaral) to share moral and spiritual perspectives and materialise observations of the environment and daily life, through art and culture.

Moa Arts — Malu Bardthar Dapar | Sea Land Sky is curated by Aven Noah Jr.

Woven Identity

Ah Sam’s weaving practice embodies storytelling and knowledge-sharing and is tied to the renewal and reconnection with her Kalkadoon father’s country and culture. Ah Sam explores weaving as a therapeutic practice towards a process of cultural healing and a way to address feelings of disconnection and reconnection with her Country.

Waanji Away

Growing up in Weipa, on the Western Cape of Cape York Peninsula, remain some of the most wonderful years of my life—close to family and growing up with my siblings, cousins and friends with so much freedom. I consider myself enriched by this time and by the fact these years, those places and [most of] those people are still very much part of my life today. But, there were times when the freedoms I enjoyed, were not afforded to my Old People.

My Great-Grandmother, Amy Ling nee King, was stolen from Borroloola in the Gulf of Carpentaria and forcibly taken to Mapoon (which was a Mission at the time). She had a number of brothers; one went to ‘Mitchell River Mission’ (Kowanyama) and one to Aurukun (Grandad Denny Bowenda became the Chair of the community and a major Wik land rights proponent. It was he and Grandad Eric who gave me my tribal Name, which I share with Grandad Eric). She stayed in Mapoon and raised her children (of which only my Grandma, Jean Little OAM, and Grandad Alex Ling still live). However, her family back home were tenacious and we’ve heard stories of them faring the Gulf and visiting her at the Mapoon Mission, via traditional dug-out canoes. As historic Traditional Own-ers, there we have since grown up in and around Mapoon and call it home. We are now Teppa-thiggi and Tjungundji. But, we are always also Waanji.

My Grandmother, Jean, built her home down the road from the one in which she was born and which was razed by the Queensland Government—in an attempt to displace us for the sake of bauxite mining expansion—in 1963 under the direction of Pat Killoran and the Nicklin Government. The charred stumps are all that’s left and we now consider them sacred, as they remind us of our roots and our history there. Grandma named her home (a simple and lovely makeshift beach batch) ‘Waanji Away’ in honour of her Mother and her Old Peoples. To this day, we still haven’t re-ceived an official Parliamentary Apology from the Queensland Parliament.

This exhibition is about my reflections of growing up in and around Weipa, Nampranum and Ma-poon. It’s titled Waanji Away because I acknowledge I paint about areas which are not my direct Country, but which is that of my kin. My next exhibition (whenever that happens) will be about my return to Waanji Country, which I’m yet to personally tread.

This exhibition has been a long time coming and is perhaps the one which most exposes, even just a little bit of, my private, family life. I must acknowledge that the grounding I have and knowledge of my Family’s history, which we possess, is in a large part thanks to our tradition of Storytelling and to my late Grandfather’s, John Jans, work tracing our history—post Stolen Generation.

– Jack Wilkie-Jans


MANdala is an establishment of a sacred space, a focusing of attention, a symbol of the universe and a meditative representation of higher thought.

This work is an embracing and balancing of the male body with the acceptance of self and identity. The blending of the body, mind, environment and established systems. The Mandala works as an equalizing and quieting tool to establish a resting point. The images are a centered and symmetrical balancing of the human condition, personalized psychology and systems of existence.

The Yantra is a geometrical design intended as a tool or instrument for meditation and increased awareness. A triangle with a point at the top is representative of the male, inverted with the point at the bottom, female. The central spot is the Bindu or seed point, a representation of the universe and a focus point for meditation. The Yantra is the principle while the Mandala is the expression. These images are tools to evoke the inhale of inspiration and the exhale of transformation.

A Yantra is a machine or instrument used to assist in meditative discipline. An abstract geometric tool for increased awareness. The Yantra is an amalgam of three principles: Form, Function and Power. Forms are the shapes that abound in the universe that Function as an instructional chart to the spiritual aspects of human experience. In ritual worship or contemplation the Yantra moves beyond form and function and emerges as a Power Diagram, at this point the Yantra is revealed.

scattered massive

scattered massive presents a collection of work that is about the practice of drawing. Grounded in everyday or found material, crayon, house paint, spray paint, sand, textile; the work approaches drawing as a process of spontaneous object making. It is influenced by ambiguity, mood and poetry.

Exploring Giant Molecules

Exploring Giant Molecules is the largest solo exhibition to date of Queensland artist Sandra Selig, bringing together key examples of her interdisciplinary projects from the past two decades.

Selig works at the intersection of visual art and experimental music, using humble materials such as thread, paper, light and sound to articulate intangible notions of form, space and time. Rather than a chronological overview, the exhibition responds to Selig’s site-specific and iterative practice.

The exhibition presents seven projects that address the dominant concerns, materials and forms of Selig’s ongoing bodies of work, including the artist’s pendulum salt drawings that transform throughout the exhibition. Also included is a new thread installation that responds to the gallery’s architecture and spider webs captured on paper—projects that have evolved organically over time and in response to the spaces Selig works and exhibits in.

The exhibition’s title is a discarded text fragment from an old science book, the source material for her ongoing ‘cut poems’ series. Selig’s work with sound and experimental music also feature in a new site responsive installation and accompanying live sound performance by the artist.

Exploring Giant Molecules is curated by Hamish Sawyer.

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Developed in partnership by: UNISC and UNSW Sydney. This project is supported by Queensland Government.

This exhibition was developed by University of the Sunshine Coast Art Gallery in partnership with the University of New South Wales. This project was supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.

I is Another

The connotation of ‘another’ is inclusive with reciprocal respect. “I is Another” embodies an existential eye which materialises into a dialogic relationship between the creator, the portrayed, and the audience.

This audio-visual project allows the author’s anthropological journey to be shared with the wider audience. Dr Daniela Vávrová left her birth country in 1998. She has travelled through different countries while studying social and cultural anthropology. Her passion for photography and people has transformed into a valuable collection of different audio-visual outcomes.

Usually, the research work is not publicly shared and available. The non-traditional research outputs are rare in the academic environment. Anthropology is an exception and it allows to produce practice-led outcomes which complement the written ones. The author’s journey as a visual anthropologist opens up new angles of view for the creative engagement with the world, the people and the places they inhabit.

It is through the encounters with “Another” that “I” reflects upon her doings and socio-cultural biases.

Ethereal Selves

Ethereal Selves by Meanjin/Brisbane-based artist Emma Gardner is an installation of suspended self-portraits.

Gardner’s work is grounded in Western esoteric practices, such as Contemporary Occultism, which emphasise human connections to natural elements and rhythms. She looks to the stars for divination and incorporates ritualistic habits that promote healing into her creative process. In her self-portraits, Gardner uses analogue photography yet moves beyond surface-level and representational imagery. Her works capture moments of surrender and states of vulnerability.

This series materially highlights a process of transformation. The works begin as cyanotype photograms on textiles. Using novel chemical interventions and sun sensitive solutions, she records her figure in moments of pause, ritual and gentle movement. She then documents the works-in-progress with a digital lens, digitally manipulating them and printing them on Perspex. The finished works play with light’s spectral qualities to evoke the complexities of contemporary representation. They combine additive and subtractive mark-making to rest in a liminal space, where the artist’s body is both translucent and present, temporally-suspended and evocative of movement.

Ethereal Selves also illustrates Gardner’s larger interests in storytelling, watching, feeling and wandering without direction. Through these works, she hopes to evoke ancient heroines and imagine future protagonists, who challenge the rationality, consumption and commercialism of contemporary life by demonstrating other ways of being.