Night by the Fire: Resurgence

Blog written by Sam Summers.

Night by the Fire: Resurgence was a forum around the cultural rebirth of some traditional practices, inspired by the current Art of the Skins exhibition.

Our wonderful speakers in Aunty Donna Page, Carol McGregor and Lyndon Davis each provided the audience with their deeply connected personal journeys in rediscovering traditional weaving, possum skin cloak making and canoe making respectively.

Aunty Donna used the analogy of a ripple effect in the water as she explained her spiritual family connection back to weaving practices. She went on to explain the effects of assimilation throughout her family linage and how some of the weaving practices had been lost. However through her spiritual connections to her Elders, she has been able to pass this tradition down on to her daughter and explained her calling to pass on the practice for generations to come. Being from Quandamooka Country (Moreton Bay region), Aunty Donna and her daughter have been involved with the current Quandamooka Festival.

NBTF August 23_02Art of the Skins exhibition artist and guest speaker Carol McGregor elaborated on the process she has undergone with the making of traditional possum skin cloaks. Whilst Carol completes her PhD in Fine Art, she has researched the tradition of cloak making in her mobs country of Victoria. Further research showed that these practices were also prevalent in Queensland where Carol now calls home. She talked about working with a number of communities in South East Queensland to workshop and create new contemporary cloaks which each tell a different and unique story. The personal journeys each individual had whilst working on the cloaks throughout this process was an absolute joy to listen to and it reinforced the need to reconnect to traditional practices. A surprising connection was also made with one of the audience members, who works with the Yugambeh Youth Choir and how they have used possum skins as drums in performances.

To explore more of the Art of the Skins exhibition

Renowned Indigenous artist and performer Lyndon Davis also delighted the audience on the resurgence of traditional canoe making. Born and raised on the Sunshine Coast  and as a Traditional Custodian and representative of the Gubbi Gubbi/Kabi Kabi people, Lyndon spoke to the audience about the spiritual calling from his Elders to revisit the ageing tradition and how he has incorporated this within his presentations to local schools, communities and Universities and within his own family. He explained the lack of records around traditional canoe making and the process of building the canoes. Lyndon and his works have been featured in the Floating Land festival in 2011 and in the Gubbi Gubbi Gun’doo Yang’ga’man Traditional Canoe exhibition.

All in all, Night by the Fire: Resurgence was a big success and it was thoroughly enjoyed by all whom were in attendance on the night. It was particularly warming to see a few connections between the audience and our guest speakers around the conversations and how these cultural resurgence ripples are creating waves in our communities.

IMG_20160823_173216 NBTF August 23_09 NBTF August 23_31

Our guest speakers will be a part of the upcoming event.

The Art of the Skins closing celebration
18th November 2016, 12:00pm – 7:00pm
Level 1 & 2, State Library of Queensland