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Melbourne hosts landmark exhibition spearheaded by Traditional Owners from Far North Queensland

Objects and artworks from Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre (Far Nth QLD) exhibited at the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre of Melbourne Museum Source: Bertrand Tungandame

The exhibition Manggan – gather, gathers, gathering featuring contemporary artworks by 18 artists from the Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre is currently on display at Melbourne Museum until the 26th of January 2020.

When this exhibition was launched in Melbourne in August this year, NITV Radio caught up with Valerie Boll, its co-curator.

Valerie Boll revealed that Manggan – gather, gathers, gathering is originally the fruit of a partnership between Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre from Cardwell in Far North Queensland and the South Australian Museum.

She explained that while at the South Australia Museum where it was first staged Manggan was a big success attracting wide public interest. This success led to exhibiting the ojects in other places. It is now slated to reach the entire country.

“It took quite some time to realise that. But now It's turned into a touring exhibition and it will be seen in 14 different places over three and a half years,” Valerie Boll said.

She further explained that Manggan-gather, gathers gathering exhibition originated from a community interest.

Valerie Boll got Traditional Owners from Far North Queensland involved in the project.

She traveled to South Australia with respected Elder Uncle Claude Beeron together with two artists to check South Australia Museums' collection of objects from Far North Queensland.

From this collection, the Elder and artists selected objects that are relevant to them which were then included in the exhibition.

Valerie Boll and Uncle Claude Beeron at Melbourne Museum
Valerie Boll and Uncle Claude Beeron at Melbourne Museum
Bertrand Tungandame

"Some of the objects in the exhibition had never been displayed to the public before; especially with Traditional Owners’ involvement," Valerie Boll explained.

She added that through this involvement the South Australian Museum has created a pathway for Traditional Owners to further understand and access such collections.

It also provided Traditional Owners an opportunity to share their cultures and traditions more broadly reaching an Australia wide audience.

The South Australia Museum became the first institution where Girringun artists really led the way not only for their cultures but for museums as well.

The same process was replicated leading up to the current exhibition in Melbourne launched in August this year and closing on the 26th of January 2020.


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