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Sorrow and Loss Reflected in New Indigenous Art Exhibition at MAGAM

Source: Northern Beaches Council
Posted: 17 Apr 2019
Image by Sherry Lummis from Pixabay
The Barkindji people have borne witness to the gradual degradation of the Darling River in far western New South Wales since white settlement began more than 200 years ago.

Their anger and sorrow at the River’s loss as well as that of Aboriginal culture in general is reflected in a new exhibition at Manly Art Gallery & Museum, Down by the River, Darling.

The exhibition displays the works of visual artist and poet, Teena McCarthy, who comes from Italian/Barkindji heritage and who is a descendent of the Stolen Generations.

“Colonisation and political expediency have exploited the Barka (Darling River) over the past 200 years and the net result has been disastrous,” Teena said.

“What is even more tragic is that no thought was given to the Indigenous People that lived along the Barka’s water ways, wetlands and lakes.

“As a Barkindji woman (Barkindji = People of the River) I am outraged and saddened by such destruction. My exhibition protests the ‘dying’ of the Barka.”

MAG&M Senior Curator Katherine Roberts said the gallery was proud to host the exhibition.

“Teena’s work documents her family’s displacement and Aboriginal Australians’ loss of culture and ‘hidden’ history.”

“She uses materials which symbolise the fragility of the land and the adverse affects of farming, cotton in particular, to tell her story.

“One example is her ‘Kopi in the Mourning’ photographs and installation work which signify her concern about ecological destruction through the use of religious tracts from explorer Sir Thomas Mitchell’s exploration, cotton balls and white ochre.”

“I enjoy the process of working with material that helps to tell the story,” Teena said.

“The fragility of the land is reflected in the fragility of the butcher’s paper that the photographs are printed on. I use myself as the canvas, to imprint, writ large, my grief, sorrowfulness and anguish,” she said.

While acknowledging the intergenerational pain of post colonialism, Teena McCarthy uses wit, humour and pathos to explore her own identity.

This exhibition is part of the 2019 Gai-mariagal Festival and Head On Photo Festival.

  • Exhibition dates: 3 May – 9 June 2019
  • Exhibition opening: Sat 4 May, 2 - 4pm by Djon Mundine OAM, curator, writer, artist and activist
  • Artist performance and talk: Sunday 26 May, 3 - 4pm. Teena McCarthy will perform her poetry and talk ‘in conversation’ with Djon Mundine OAM about her life and creative journey.
 
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