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New creative space

You may have heard the buzz… NorthSite and our friends at InkMasters are excited to have been through a process of transition recently, with the handing over of the baton!

NorthSite is commencing operations of NorthSite Art Studios, 55 Greenslopes Street, Edge Hill.

This phenomenal workshop space was managed by InkMasters recently and operated as Djumbunji Press KickArts Fine Art Printmaking 2009 – 2012.

We’re aware we have huge shoes to fill in terms of the extraordinary work that the InkMasters committee have achieved for printmaking in the region over the past decade, but we’re also aware of the huge potential of the site for the far north community of artists.

We want to hear from you. Tell us your experiences and aspirations and if you have a burning idea for a creative workshop you’d like to deliver or participate in – let us know by filling in the survey here.

Yours in art – Team NorthSite


Read more in Tropic Magazine: Click here


 

UPCOMING EVENTS & WORKSHOPS

 


Upcoming exhibition insights

Andrea Huelin takes us inside the studios of the collective group Sixfold Project to delve into their upcoming exhibition, Meanwhile, showing at NorthSite from 18 November 2022 to 28 January 2023.


Ask an artist why they choose to work alongside others – even if they don’t really see them much, collaborate or socialise with them – and they may talk about a number of practical benefits. Important factors for many artists are the sense of shared endeavour, of community, of invisible moral support in what can be an emotionally fraught, physically challenging business involving sustained effort and will, often with unpredictable outcomes. The artists of Sixfold Project have devised a shared creative space like this, but it is not under the one roof. Indeed, it is not even in the same Australian state.

The six women met and began exhibiting together in Cairns, far north Queensland, but they are now working in their own studios, from various locations around Australia and New Zealand. Still, they benefit from this sense of working communally. Highly self-motivated, and prolific in their own careers, these mid-career artists don’t seek coaching, banter, or comparing notes as they negotiate their place in the art world – they already have the runs on the board. They are professionals who have seen the benefit in connecting with each other and sharing their journeys towards their collaboratively determined goal, purely because of the energy and reinforcement of purpose that is created by their common, simultaneous striving. As they have shown in the past, the power of their collective artistic sensibilities is powerful indeed.

The latest exhibition by the artists of Sixfold Project – Barbara Dover, Louisa Ennis-Thomas, Rose Rigley, Raewyn Biggs, Julie Poulsen and Jennifer Valmadre – is called ‘Meanwhile’, celebrating the power of the collective creative experience, while bringing their own philosophical and personal frameworks to the themes of time and place. New work for the exhibition has been created simultaneously by these artist colleagues, across disparate geographic locations.

The artists work in isolation but meet regularly via video connection to exchange thoughts and processes, and to seek candid responses; gradually refining and clarifying their intentions and experiments. The artists describe this process as an ‘energising’ opportunity to ‘reject, reshape, reaffirm and renavigate their works through a shared creative process’. Their work includes painting, sculpture, photography and installation, with a variety of experimental mixed media, as is the group’s usual multi-disciplinary approach. In each other, these individuals have recognised a similar work ethic, and a willingness to be fearless with their art making. Supported by each artist’s simultaneous efforts, they contemplate their experiences and preoccupations, and seek to express their evolution.

For some of the Sixfold Project artists, these contemplations are biographical. As she often does in her work, Julie Poulsen began with an idea expressed in words, in this case a poem reflecting on her experience of time. The resulting paintings and assemblage fragments are joyful jumbles of beaches and bodies, pets and play – perhaps a realisation that the act of collecting experiences through photographs, sketches and memories, and then giving them new life in her skilfully haphazard paintings is a beautiful way of experiencing life. Like so many memories or thoughts leading from one to another, her semi-abstract images seem to continue from panel to panel within the large diptych ‘Meanwhile the beach is warm’, with lines of stitching providing a visible manifestation of the intuitive process of resolving an artwork. Padded panels give a sensory dimension to the artworks, accentuating the assembled nature of the pieces.

Similarly, Rose Rigley began with a poem, written in the style of a fable, reflecting upon her family of origin. In her moving story about being a witness to the experience of victims of the Stolen Generation, Rigley contemplates ideas of connection, belonging, cruelty, kindness, strength and healing. The resulting sculptural pieces are organically shaped, tubular and transparent, crocheted from salvaged copper wire with what must have been no small degree of sustained physical exertion, determination and patience. As the artist says, ‘These disembodied tongues… (are) an ongoing mantra to hope and a helpless penance to the challenge of an unchangeable past.’ The installation has a gentle poignancy that characterises Rigley’s work.

For Raewyn Biggs, time and place were distorted by sudden illness in her family and international lockdowns, as she found herself a stranger in an unfamiliar expat community within a foreign city – Auckland, New Zealand. For ‘Meanwhile’, Biggs presents large-scale photographic projections that place her within, but clearly outside her new environment with its seemingly welcoming, colourful shopfronts. The artist portrays herself as a masked superhero figure, bravely landing in this new place that needs her, but she is unable to reveal her true identity.

Jennifer Valmadre’s mastery of her mediums is such that she can break the rules and let her ideas be guided and influenced by the materials themselves as she pushes them to uncharted places. Her trust in her process and her resulting track record of extraordinarily original work has led to this new series, ‘Bowls of colour’, multiples of wall-mounted, semi-spherical forms made from casting plaster with nylon and fibreglass. The gelato-coloured concave surfaces have the inlaid techniques of encaustic painting, which contrast with the dark, nut-like shell on the convex side. The product of a long process of experimentation in colour theory and aesthetic conventions, this installation is highly original and intriguing.

Louisa Ennis-Thomas continues to experiment with form, texture and challenging materials in ‘Parasite (Clinging to the belly of the world)’: her speculative investigation of themes of exploitation and adaption. The textile installation is made up of more than 50 human-sized forms, cut and sewn from discarded agricultural sacks and suspended from the ceiling in an upside-down ‘forest’. The open weave of the hessian brings to mind skin as well as bark, creating an unsettlingly sense that the forest might be natural, but it is clearly a human-made plantation of sorts, with the limp forms clinging to the ceiling in rows. The installation, which Ennis-Thomas describes as an exploration of ‘our human desire to control, cultivate and harvest resources…and the global impacts this relentless preoccupation sets in motion’, shows the curiosity and intellect that characterises her oeuvre.
¬
In a magnificent synergy of ideas, Barbara Dover’s new work ‘Reckoning’ continues her career-long focus on the perils facing our environment, particularly animals who are caught up in the effects of a warming planet. The sculptural installation is foreboding exemplified: it takes the form of traffic safety cones formed from concrete, with found animal hair encased within, and protruding in places as if the animal was trapped in the form. The contrast between the organic animal-derived materials and the brutal concrete delivers that sucker punch of heartfelt recognition that Dover does so well. Dark, pockmarked forms of bollards in the installation, ‘Sentinel’, bring to mind charred ruins, while porcelain safety lights in ‘Detour’ suggest warning and threat.

Accompanying their individual bodies of work are two installations made in collaboration by all six artists. ‘Meanwhile’ is a playful video showing footage from each of the artist’s lives and working processes, giving environmental context to the artworks on show, and illustrating that the artists are simultaneously living different lives in different regions, with the connecting thread of creative progress towards the exhibition.

The installation in the Void space at the NorthSite Gallery is a collection of multiple artworks and objects that represent the creative development processes in each artist’s studio. The installation is like stolen peeks through windows or curtain partitions into the artists’ private studio workplaces, where there is evidence of the artists’ trials and errors pinned to walls, laid out on the floor, or waiting for attention on easels. This is the scene of the artists’ battle with their materials, processes and their own ambitions (and shortcomings) for the body of work they are focused on.

The Sixfold Project artists have circumvented the challenges of many mid-career artists, as well as those of artists living in isolated regional areas, by creating their virtual co-working space. Within this space, the artists have permission – indeed, more like an imperative – to be ambitious and to aim for excellence within their own practices. Working together, they have the confidence to go down the dark and sometimes scary path of the unknown, and to wrestle with materials and processes that might bring their ideas to light. In doing so, they are lifting the standard of contemporary art in their own regions by modelling determination and hard work, quality and professionalism to their fellow artists, their art students and mentees, their collectors and their gallery networks. Most importantly, their highly resolved and thoughtful artwork is adding to the visual language archive of human (and animal) experience; bringing us new ways to understand our world and ourselves.


Words by Andrea Huelin
2022


 

VIEW EXHIBITION

 


The Regional Arts Development Fund is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Cairns Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

Careers: Acting Director

DOWNLOAD POSITION DESCRIPTION

 

Position title: Acting Director
Category of employment: 1 year contract, full-time position
Reports to: NorthSite Board Chair and Board
Closing date: 19 October 2022

 

NORTHSITE CONTEMPORARY ARTS

NorthSite is a leading contemporary art gallery located within the Cairns CBD. Each year, NorthSite engages with over 300 artists to deliver exhibitions and programs to Far North Queensland and beyond.

The NorthSite Mission is to link ideas, artists, audiences and supporters to present contemporary art and design that brings people together, stimulates conversation and provides transformative experiences.

NorthSite has a fundamental role to play in ensuring the promotion of contemporary art in Cairns and greater North Queensland, through the on-going development, delivery and promotion of exhibitions and programs and provision of artist services.

POSITION

The Acting Director will lead the organisation’s artistic vision, exhibitions, and programs throughout 2023, during the Artistic Director/CEO’s maternity leave (1 March – 1 November 2023 -provisional), as set out in the 2023 program aligned with NorthSite’s Strategic Plan 2020-2025.

As Acting Director, you will be responsible for leading a team of 8 professional arts workers, across exhibitions, programs, retail, communications and finance portfolios with a hands-on approach to exhibition development and delivery.

The Acting Director will be responsible for overseeing the delivery of the overall strategic objectives, artistic output, retail activities, communications and financial performance of the company in 2023, guided by and enhancing NorthSite’s vision, purpose and values. The Acting Director will be responsible for reporting the financial and operational performance of the company to the Board of Directors at bi-monthly meetings.

The Acting Director will oversee the company’s exhibitions and creative programs, supervise and mentor staff to assist with the delivery of all aspects of daily operations. The Acting Director will ensure personnel are supported and have all the information they require to carry out their duties in the most effective, efficient, and professional manner.

The Acting Director will be supported by the Executive Administrator and Chairperson to ensure strong governance processes are upheld and ensure ongoing financial stability. A four-month handover and collaboration period will be allowed for with the Artistic Director/CEO.

ESSENTIAL CRITERIA

Applicants must be able to demonstrate commitment and experience in related roles, with:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal and negotiation skills
  • Experience with HR and excellent team management
  • Proven project management skills, inc. financial processes and contract management
  • Ability to prioritise team and individual work to meet deadlines – self-motivated, flexible and resourceful
  • Experience with statistics and reporting, writing/updating processes, protocols and plans
  • Evidenced familiarly sourcing new avenues of financial support for artists & arts activities
  • Knowledge of all-ability and diversity access principles, high cultural competency
  • Understanding of diverse artistic practices and operation of studio/gallery environments
  • Detailed understanding of industry with ability to identify and articulate important issues
  • Experience in safe-handling of works of art and managing WH&S processes
  • Precise attention to detail and commitment to transparency & accuracy
  • Good time-management skills and ability to manage workflow and provide regular updates to colleagues, partners and Board members

DESIRABLE

  • Driver’s License
  • Experience with Mac computer systems, software integrations and applications including Microsoft Office, Filemaker Pro, Trello, Hubspot, Vend, Eventbrite and Adobe Creative Suite

KEY RELATIONSHIPS

  • Reports to the NorthSite Board Chair and Board
  • Internal liaisons – NorthSite Board of Directors, other staff including Executive Administrator, Curator, Communications Coordinator, Retail Manager, Gallery Officer, Events and Content Producer, Programs Coordinator, volunteers, studio technicians, contracted facilitators, artists, and other Bulmba-ja tenants
  • External liaisons – workshop and program participants, patrons to the galleries, arts peers, community, government, industry, and business associates

HOW TO APPLY

Download the Position Description document to ensure you meet the criteria. Provide the information outlined in the Position Description document and click the “Apply Now” button to submit your application.

 

DOWNLOAD POSITION DESCRIPTION

 

APPLY NOW
 

Illuminate FNQ Indigenous Science Festival

NorthSite recently partnered to support an Art Science Talk event for the inaugural illuminate FNQ Indigenous Science Festival.

The exhibition, Yuk Wuy Min Nguntamp, by Keith Wikmunea and Heather Koowootha produced by NorthSite in collaboration with Wik and Kugu Art Centre was included in the Friday activities of the Illuminate program. Heather Koowootha provided an extremely insightful explanation of her paintings of plants and natural resources that embody deep Wik cultural knowledge.

If you are interested in hearing more about this exciting new festival that drew scientists from across the world to Cairns and celebrated local ancient knowledge systems, check out the link to their wrap-up video, produced by artist and volunteer illuminate FNQ Board Director Dr. Jenny Fraser.

For more information about illuminate FNQ Indigenous Science Festival visit: https://illuminatefnq.org/home/


In other news, Dr Jenny Fraser has recently been awarded the prestigious 2022 Australia Council Award for Emerging and Experimental Arts! Congratulations Jenny!

Dr Jenny Fraser – Australia Council Award for Emerging & Experimental Arts

SUPERCUT x Robert Tommy Pau

In July 2022, Robert Tommy Pau’s artwork, titled ‘Time‘, was presented on a billboard along the Bruce Highway as part of NorthSite’s partnership with Outer Space for the SUPERCUT program.

“NorthSite has been delighted to partner with Outer Space for SUPERCUT which has created new opportunities for regional artists to showcase their artwork to a wider audience”, said NorthSite’s Artistic Director/ CEO Ashleigh Campbell.

This artwork tells an important story in past and modern history for the Torres Strait Islanders, reflecting on two different points in time and showcasing the vast contrast between these timelines.

“1871 is a point in time where Islanders refers to Coming of the Light. This is a very profound statement as it is a demarcation between their past history and modern history.” said Robert Tommy Pau

Tommy is a descendant of the Eastern Torres Strait Islands, Australian Aboriginal, Papua New Guinea, Pacific Islander and Asia. He speaks Torres Strait Creole and Australian English. He was taught about the need to keep culture strong through cultural practice by his father. He has a strong commitment to keeping old traditions alive and believes that culture must remain true to the past and move with time to exist in the future. Tommy has considerable experience in the arts and his art forms of choice include printmaking, painting and sculpture.

Billboard location: Bruce Highway, 3.2km west of Bundaberg Airport on Isis Highway
Outbound, Bundaberg, Queensland.

For more information visit: https://www.outerspacebrisbane.org/program/supercut-robert-tommy-pau

Billboard documentation by Sabrina Lauriston

Robert Tommy Pau, Time, 2021, linocut on somerset velvet white 300gsm 100% cotton, 59.5 78.5cm

Billboard documentation by Sabrina Lauriston


SUPERCUT is supported by the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund – an Australian Government Initiative and is presented in partnership with Artspace Mackay and NorthSite Contemporary Arts, Cairns.

Careers: Programs Coordinator

DOWNLOAD POSITION DESCRIPTION

 

Position title: Programs Coordinator
Category of employment: Permanent Full-Time
Reports to: Artistic Director/CEO
Closing date: 08.09.2022

 

NORTHSITE CONTEMPORARY ARTS

NorthSite is a leading contemporary art gallery located within the Cairns CBD. Each year, NorthSite engages with over 300 artists to deliver exhibitions and programs to Far North Queensland and beyond.

The NorthSite Mission is to link ideas, artists, audiences and supporters to present contemporary art and design that brings people together, stimulates conversation and provides transformative experiences.

POSITION

The NorthSite Programs Coordinator is responsible for the effective and efficient coordination of the not-for-profit arts company’s public programs.

The program focus is three-fold, firstly through the delivery of programs that enhance access, engagement and understanding of NorthSite exhibitions at Bulmba-ja (96 Abbott Street), secondly to provide artistic professional development and artsworker training within Far North Queensland, and thirdly to connect with community and coordinate a program of arts education through workshops, residencies, events and excellence-in-printmaking initiatives at NorthSite Art Studios (55 Greenslopes Street).

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Development and delivery of all NorthSite public programs.
  • Facilitate and deliver talks, educational tours, events and panel discussions.
  • Develop and deliver public learning programs to wide target audiences.
  • Management of NorthSite Art Studios, including volunteer rostering, studio and booking coordination, WH&S, key and training registers and building maintenance schedules.
  • Maintain and update NorthSite Workshops and NorthSite Art Studios procedures manuals.
  • Delivery of programs associated with NorthSite exhibitions in partnership with colleagues including Curator and Events/Content Producer.
  • Deliver programs to enhance relationships with members, sponsors, patrons and volunteers to promote NorthSite and further its aims in the arts community.
  • Develop systems for scheduling and managing a range of activities involving various parties.
  • Attract sponsorship and in-kind support for activities.
  • Work with Communications Coordinator to document and provide educational content and copy for social media posts, promotions and news articles.
  • Seek project funding and manage individual development program budgets.
  • Provide statistical data and qualitative reporting for grant and program acquittals.
  • Provide visitor service and administration services.
  • Schedule programs associated with gallery exhibitions.
  • Maintain strong relationships with educational partners, teachers, and current students to deliver relevant extensions to coursework and professional development pathways at the gallery.
  • Manage documentation and communications, AV requirements of programs.
  • When required, provide support to exhibition preparation, installation, and openings.
  • Order materials and equipment, in line with NorthSite purchasing policies and budgetary requirements.
  • Ensure safe workspaces and suitably stocked stores at NorthSite Art Studios.
  • Maintain equipment and artwork inventories equipment and paper registers and monitor stock levels.
  • Coordinate offsite workshops, including engagement of external facilitators and tutors and programs, material supplies, maintenance, security and access to building, advertising, bookings, budgets and financial records.
  • Source information for funding applications, acquittals, funding proposals to grant funding bodies, trusts and sponsors.
  • Support marketing, advertising, and promotional activities with the Communications Coordinator.
  • Undertake safe-handling and storage of artworks, in particular works on paper.
  • Assist with research/development/implementation of professional development programs including symposia, interdisciplinary festivals, conferences, residences, special projects, and consultancies.
  • Provide draft copy to Artistic Director/CEO for programs content for website and other promotional channels.
  • Carry out other duties within skill range as determined by the Director.

ESSENTIAL CRITERIA

  • Excellent communication skills;
  • Ability to prioritise work and meet deadlines, self-motivated and resourceful;
  • Understanding of artistic practices and studio environments, and an understanding of the arts sector, best-practice models with professional experience in art, craft, events, design, service, music or publishing industry;
  • Ability to show initiative and flexibility in the performance of duties and the ability to work autonomously and act without supervision as well as part of a team to meet deadlines and manage weekly priorities;
  • Knowledge and understanding of the visual contemporary arts industry and ability to articulate important issues relating to the arts;
  • Public program administration – planning, development and delivery including statistical reporting of programs;
  • Experience in safe-handling of works of art and hazardous materials;
  • Proven project management skills, including financial management and contract management;
  • Ability to maintain databases and mailing lists;
  • Knowledge of all-ability and diversity access principles, high cultural competency;
  • Precise attention to detail and commitment to accuracy;
  • Good time-management skills and ability to manage workflow and provide regular updates to colleagues and Artistic Director/CEO.

DESIRABLE

  • Contemporary arts, experimental practice and visual culture;
  • Installation including technical equipment, data projectors, DVD players and sound equipment;
  • Fine-art printmaking;
  • Archiving and research work and ability to undertake long-range planning;
  • Working with artists in presenting and promoting their work;
  • Experience working with volunteers;
  • Computer systems, software integrations and applications including Microsoft Office, Filemaker Pro, Trello, Hubspot, Vend, Eventbrite and Adobe.

KEY RELATIONSHIPS

  • Reports to the NorthSite Artistic Director/CEO.
  • Internal liaisons – NorthSite Board of Directors other staff including Executive Administrator, Curator, Communications Coordinator, Retail Manager, Gallery Officer, Events and Content Producer, volunteers, studio technicians, engaged facilitators, artists and other Bulmba-ja tenants.
  • External liaisons – workshop participants, patrons to the galleries, program participants, community, industry and business associates.

HOW TO APPLY

Download the Position Description document to ensure you meet the criteria. Provide the information outlined in the Position Description document and click the “Apply Now” button to submit your application.

 

DOWNLOAD POSITION DESCRIPTION

 

APPLY NOW
 

2023 — 2024 Program Call Out

NorthSite is a leading contemporary art gallery working with over 300 artists each year to deliver exhibitions and programs to the Cairns region and beyond. In 2021 NorthSite delivered over 20 exhibitions and over 100 programs. The NorthSite team have extensive knowledge and connections within the arts industry to support artists achieve their goals wherever possible.

Applications for our 2023 — 2024 exhibitions and programs are now open. We welcome emerging and established artists to express their interest in our 2023 — 2024 program call-out.

Open: Monday, 8 August 2022
Deadline: Monday, 26 September 2022

 
Apply Today

Repatriate essay by Carol McGregor

“The constructed nature of history and of identification is arbitrary, not fixed, but open to new possibilities of meaning and identification.”1

Repatriate brings together four artists who met and study together at the Queensland College of Art’s (QCA) Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art (CAIA) program, Griffith University, Brisbane alongside collective members Dion Beasley and Cairns (Gimuy) based artist Bernard Singleton Jr.

The title of the exhibition is usually associated with the return of objects or people, back to where they came from. An expanded definition includes to restore: to restore origins, allegiance, or citizenship2—adapted here as the duty and social responsibility to restore foundations. Specifically in this exhibition, a call to restore Australia’s true foundational historical accounts and memories.

Curated together the artworks are simultaneously loud and deeply poetic, informing us in a clear voice how histories are recorded, often skewed, and owned. The artists generously give us understandings why there must be honest considerations and fluidity for growth to restore our nation’s genuine narrative.

Darren Blackman’s (Gureng Gureng, Gangulu Nations), body of work speaks to the notion that there are two versions of the colonisation of Australia. In this process, Blackman proclaims his clan’s sovereignty through questioning the integrity of Eurocentric narratives that cling to “settlement,” and the purpose of that single ideology.

Blackman’s research uncovers how former Federal Education and Youth Minister Alan Tudge in 2021 argued that the problem with the draft changes to the national history curriculum “it [the impact of colonisation] gave the impression nothing bad happened before 1788
and almost nothing good has happened since.” Tudge emphasised how the planned updates downplayed Australia’s Western heritage and how we need to recognise that “…our democracy is based on our Christian and western origin with a reference to the importance of the values of patriotism and freedom”. 3

Australia’s shared history is one true history and there is fundamental responsibility for truth telling and to right wrongs—including in our education system.

As we witness the successive failures of the 2007 Close the Gap campaign 14 years on, and an Aboriginal Deaths in Custody rate of 1 death every 14 days since the Royal Commission Inquiry released its findings in 1991, with resemblances of protest banners, Blackmans complex text puzzles directly address failings in the dominant Eurocentric narrative.

Blackman states “the agenda is clear, Imperialism rebranded became capitalism, the Commonwealth Government of Australia continues to oppress First Nations people to continue the wilful destruction of their homelands to access resources. As a nation matures, questions are asked, conversations have started, the oppressors are nervous and the oppressed empowered. The truth hurts.”

Kyra Mancktelow (Quandamooka with links to the Mardigan people of Cunnamulla) in Gubba Up Mancktelow explores early encounters between the First Fleet and First Nations people and where culture was systematically damaged by the introduction of colonial garments—particularly the cast-off government and military jackets gifted to Aboriginal men as a way of assimilation and to cover up blak skin. As Mancktelow states her Ancestors “were named savages by the nakedness of their skin.”

‘Gubba Man’ or ‘Gubbamen’ were originally mispronunciations of “government” and subsequently ‘Gubba’ referred to all white people. Today ‘Gubba Up’, loosely translates to ‘whiten up’ – a phrase used by First Nations peoples to describe the need to change your way of life to suit your environment. To gubba up is to whiten up; to whiten up is to cover up. Gubba up and lose your Aboriginal identity. 4

In research led practice Mancktelow references colonial paintings from 1810-20 where Aboriginal men were depicted in ill-fitting jackets and coats.5 Mancktelow carefully recreates these garments in tarleton cloth. Tarleton was chosen purposely as it is a material used in the print making industry to remove ink from the etching plate. Mancktelow uses tarleton as a metaphor for the attempt to rub away the identity of cultural ways and knowledges.

The garments are uniquely relief printed and these all most transparent forms, are strongly overprinted with traditional weapons. By placing cultural artefacts on the garments Mancktelow directly signifies the continuum of culture and the untold history of resistance to assimilate and to gubba up.

Mancktelow’s artistic response is to the misconception recorded in colonial archives that cultural ways did not survive ‘successful’ assimilation and that beliefs, values and cultural practices were displaced by the governing Western society.

In his studies Dylan Mooney (Yuwi, Torres Strait/South Sea Islander) considers his Ancestor’s Yuwi shields housed in national and international institutional collections. Mooney seeks out spending time with these artefacts and reflects on them being so far away from Country, from their makers and the makers families.

Returning to the studio and after creating life size lithograph prints of the shields, Mooney hand colours the images, unequivocally reconnecting himself with the objects.

As part of his research process Mooney often visits Yuwi Country around Mackay and the areas the shields were made. Subsequently Mooney has worked with Elders hand carving his own shields from similar trees—understanding the process and connection these artefacts have to their creators and the land it came from.

Mooney takes this understanding and draws from his photographs on the back of the prints, the landscape and Country—restoring in a defined way the shields to their origins.

Dylan Sarra (Taribelang/Gooreng Gooreng) has been investigating the Burral Burral (Burnett River) Petroglyphs, on his Ancestors Country close to Bundaberg. Burral Burral flows from the Great Dividing Range and was the lifeblood of the Taribelang people. In a unique artistic tradition, the petroglyphs or rock-engravings were situated on an isolated outcrop of the river’s sandstone with an area of 3348 square kilometres and were considered the largest Aboriginal rock-engraving site on the east coast of Queensland at the time.

Between 1971 and 1972 a selection of 92 stone blocks from Burral Burral containing Aboriginal engravings and weighing up to 5 tonnes, were cut out of their original and traditional site and distributed to multiple locations across Queensland.

This was carried out by the State Government under the provisions of the then Aboriginal Relics Preservation Act 1967. The site was subsequently flooded during a dam construction and the removed blocks are still scattered across Queensland.

In his studio-based-practice research Sarra creates his own petroglyphs to understand how the stone feels to carve—the effort and skill needed in a similar way his Ancestors carved the Burral Burral stones. Sarra plans to create 92 individual carvings to represent the shattering and displacement of his Ancestors petroglyphs.
Each of his carvings is then replicated as prints with detailed lithography processes.

Sarra’s final body of work explores the stories surrounding the stones and will ultimately include bringing all 92 prints together symbolically restoring the Burral Burral Petroglyphs and “lighting of the embers to continue the conversation of repatriation.” 6
The invitation to local Yirrganydji Traditional Owner, Bernard Singleton Jr to contribute and respond to the ideas contained within Repatriate provides a powerful presence and further contemplation.

“Cultural extraction is still happening. The taking away bits of history without providing any context for it. The dark pasts that are hidden or forgotten and the emotional consequences that are ongoing. This representation of extraction practices that signifies our old people were in unison with Country and solutions
were at hand.”7

Darren Blackman, Kyra Mancktelow, Dylan Mooney, Dylan Sarra, Bernard Singleton Jr and Dion Beasley are First Nations artists that deeply investigate Australia’s histories from a true perspective, and as knowledge holders offer visual form and skilled poetic ways of informing us. Their research and artworks are conduits for truth telling and as such how we move forward as a nation.


Essay by Carol McGregor
2022


 

View Exhibition

 

Shop Artworks

 


1 Gordon Bennett, “The Manifest Toe” in Ian McLean & Gordon Bennett, The Art of Gordon Bennett, Craftsman House, Australia, p 42
2 https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/repatriate
3 https://ministers.dese.gov.au/tudge/roaring-back-my-priorities-schools-tudents-return-classrooms
4 https://www.nsmithgallery.com/artists/53-kyra-mancktelow/works/
5 As they did not wear the jackets or garments ‘correctly’ Aboriginal people were often ridiculed such as in the 1819 watercolour ‘Sauvages de la Nouvelle Galles du Sud’ attributed to Alphonse Pellion.
6 Dylan Sarra 2022
7 Bernard Singleton Jr 2022

NorthSite x CIAF 2022 July Program

We’re pleased to announce the release of our CIAF x NorthSite 2022 Program. From Artist Talks to Exclusive Events here are all the dates to save in your calendar for next week. We’ve also extended opening hours in the Shop and Gallery (see bottom of page).

Location: NorthSite at Bulmba-ja, 96 Abbott Street, Cairns City 4870


Tuesday, 5 July | $15 Tickets
6 PM CIAF x NorthSite Exclusive Preview
Get Tickets


Wednesday, 6 July | Free event
1 PM Artist Talk: Keith Wikmunea & Heather Koowootha
2PM Artist Talk: Grace Lillian Lee & Dr. Ken Thaidau Snr
Come Along


Thursday, 7 July | Free event
1 PM Artist Talk: Repatriate
2 PM Artist Talk: Bana Yirriji Art Centre
Come Along


Friday, 8 July | Free event
1 PM Artist Talk: Teho Ropeyarn & Mr Graham Brady
Join the Talk


Saturday, 9 July| Free event
11 AM Designer Talk: IndigeDesignLabs
Join IndigeDesignLabs


Sunday, 10 July | Free event
1 PM Artist Talk: Grace Lillian Lee & Dr. Ken Thaidau Snr
Join the Talk


Extended Opening Hours

Monday, 4 July: 10 AM — 5 PM
Tuesday, 5 July: 10 AM — 9 PM
Wednesday, 6 July: 10 AM — 5 PM
Thursday, 7 July: 10 AM — 7:30 PM
Friday, 8 July: 10 AM — 7:30 PM
Saturday, 9 July: 10 AM — 7:30 PM
Sunday, 10 July: 11 AM — 2 PM

Take a look at all the exhibitions showing in the NorthSite Gallery at Bulmba-ja Arts Centre: See exhibitions

NorthSite x WOW Cairns

WOW Cairns 2022 was a huge success providing a strong local program that heard the voices of many women through entertaining and conversation-provoking events. In the lead up to WOW Cairns, held at Bulmba-ja Arts Centre from Friday 13 to Saturday 14 May 2022, NorthSite assisted in the development of 2 spectacular exhibitions which will be running until June 2022.

The WOW Cairns Women’s Show is a celebration of women painters from across Far North Queensland curated especially for WOW Australia by NorthSite. The exhibition features the work of Janet Koongoteema, Jean Walmbeng, Julie Poulsen, Margaret Upton, Maharlina Gorospe-Lockie, Hannah Murray, Anne Nunn, Betty Sykes, Lenore Howard, Agnes Wotton, Claudine Marzik, Netta Loogatha, Nickeema Williams, Kim Marsden, Bernice Burke, Hannah Parker, Philomena Yeatman, Paula Savage, Laurel McKenzie, Fiona Elisala-Mosby, Matilda Aidan, India Collins, Tia Adoberg, Matilda Nona, Caroline Mudge, Tamika Grant-Iramu, DOULA, Margaret Mara, Rhonda Woolla, Melissa Waters, Delissa Walker and Mersene Loban. This exhibition is showing until 25 June 2022.

Gathering is a culture-based community collaboration, led by leading local artists Elverina Johnson of Paperbark Arts and Francoise Lane of Indij Design. During WOW Cairns the artwork was built upon with themes inspired by the waterways weaving through Country; nurturing and sustaining life. The final sculptural form which looks like a paperbark bulmba is currently on display within NorthSite at Bulmba-ja Arts Centre.


WOW Cairns Women’s Show
Gathering
Gathering event