Saturday, 8th September, 2018
By Callum Marshall
The first Broken Hill and Far West NSW Indigenous Woodcarvers Gathering is on display at the Old Town Hall Gallery.
Organised by West Darling Arts, it is comprised of a collection of wood carvings by the Amanya Mitha Indigenous Arts gallery, Broken Hill Catholic Care ‘Men’s Woodcarving Group’ and Barkindji artist, Brian Harris, whose work is on display alongside his paintings and other works.
Aboriginal Arts Officer for West Darling Arts, Paul Adcock, said the show was a great way to promote Indigenous culture from across the Far West.
“Woodcarving is developing rapidly, not just in the Broken Hill Aboriginal community through the efforts of Anthony Haywood, but also in little towns along the Darling River,” he said.
“From Bourke, Wilcannia, Menindee, down to Wentworth and Dareton, carving groups are being established.”
“We would really like to see this work develop and brought to the attention of a much wider audience.”
The exhibition includes a collection of spears, Woomeras, Nulla Nullas, bowls, free-standing sculptural work, an emu egg carving and paper basketry work from artists Anthony Hayward, Clinton Kemp, Keanu Bates, Brian Harris, Gerard Bennett Jnr., Badger Bates and Aunty Muriel Riley.
The exhibition is part of a long-term plan by West Darling Arts to bring greater attention to, and expand the collection of, Indigenous woodwork across the region.
“It’ll be an annual event to coincide with Broken Heel. So a combination of what’s going on outside and what’s happening here will help expose the work of good quality Aboriginal artists to a much wider audience,” said Mr Adcock.
“This is year one of a process over the next five years. We want to build on each year until it’s filling the pavements, and spilling out into the carpark before the library gets built.”
His sentiments were echoed by artist and musician Anthony Hayward, and Clinton Kemp, owner of the local Amanya Mitha Indigenous Art gallery.
“We are making a start to the Gathering this year but would like to see this event grow and develop in the years ahead,” said Mr Heyward.
“Any chance we get to do this is a big thing. It’s a great opportunity for Indigenous artists and not just specifically from this area. It’s also good to get together, perfect some of our works and share ways of doing them,” said Mr. Kemp.
The Woodcarvers Gathering is on from 10am to 3pm today with a majority of the works on the ground floor of the Old Town Hall Gallery in Argent Street and Brian Harris’ paintings on the top floor.