2016 the kuril review

kuril dhagun has had an amazing year! We would like to thank everyone who has been a part of our programming, used our venue, connected with in the community, engaged with us online and visited our space.

We have gone through some massive changes yet we have produced some of our best work yet.

Here is a quick recap of the year;

  • Amanda Hayman was appointed Manager of kuril dhagun in February.


  • In March, we had our very talented artist-in-residence, Boneta-Marie Mabo open her solo exhibition entitled Black Velvet: Your Label. This featured four black velvet soft sculpture works and incredible oil paintings depicting Aboriginal women as they would like to be seen and labelled the way they wanted to be labelled.

Black Velvet Opening_025

  • Our Autumn Kreative Kuril series included DIY Homewares with Lisa Farrawell and Upcycled Fashion with Natalie Cunningham of Emu Designs.

  • Elena Wangurra, Event Officer (Acting Manager 2015-2016) left us in May and went back home spend some quality time with family. She did some travel and worked with Indigenous Hip Hop Projects and  through the second half of the year. We wish her all the best in 2017 as she starts her exciting new position with 33 Creative.



  • A Night by the Fire: Fashion series was really amazing. We had Arkie Barton (of Arkie the Label) and Elisa Jane Carmichael as guest speakers in kuril dhagun, then joined by our extraordinary designer friend Grace Lillian Lee and hosted by Nadia Buick (of the Fashion Archives).
Arkie dreamtime bomber

Arkie dreamtime bomber

  • NAIDOC – SLQ celebrated twice this year! We had a deadly celebration at SLQ with speeches, performances, tours and activities across the library. We also went out to Musgrave Park Family Fun Day to celebrate with community. We also had our beautiful new marquee made for the occasion, it features Aunt Lilla Watson’s artwork and we just love it!


  • Katina, Amanda and Freja were a part of the Curators and Collectors program in warm and sunny Cairns for the Indigenous Art Fair in July. This was an amazing opportunity to learn about exhibition design and behind the scenes insights into various exhibits across a range of galleries. It was also a great networking opportunity and lots of connections were made.
  • We held some Storytime sessions throughout the year; in our Reading Nook as well as The Corner. We also spent the morning of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day in the Corner reading, singing and playing which was a lot of fun!!


  • We welcomed two new staff members. Sophia Sambono is our Program Officer, she relocated from Canberra with her family to join the kuril dhagun team. She formerly worked for the National Film and Sound Archives and brings a lot of experience working with collections. Sam Summers also joined us as the new Event Officer. Sam relocated from Western Australia where he was previously working with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

intro-sophia-blog sam

  • Two remarkable staff members moved on. Lara Croydon, former Community Officer, literally ran off with the circus and she decided to chase her dream and her passion for circus and there are big things on the horizon for her. Elisa Jane Carmichael (affectionately known as Leecee) left the team to work full-time and concentrate on her arts career which is already legendary. Leecee will be heading to Alice Springs in 2017 to create artwork about saltwater country in the desert. We can’t wait to see her creations.

The Walking Tour of Kurilpa

  • For the first time ever, kuril dhagun curated a multi-venue exhibition, Art of the Skins was our biggest exhibit (and best in my opinion), which spanned across kuril dhagun and the main SLQ Gallery spaces. Art of the Skins was an outcome of a large community engagement project led by artists Carol McGregor and Glennys Briggs. We had six new community created contemporary possum skin cloaks made in collaboration with over 120 contributors. We invited participants to a special preview and gathering as well as the official opening. This was a particular stand out of the year and an achievement we are really proud of.


  • The second series of Night by the Fire had Aunty Donna Page, Lyndon Davis and Carol McGregor sharing stories about cultural resurgence. Aunty Donna is a prolific weaver and spoke about weaving practices, Lyndon spoke about bark canoes and fish nets and Carol spoke about possum skin cloak traditions.


  • We were blessed to have our former kuril dhagun Manager, Nadine McDonald-Dowd, join us for a few months before her, her hubby and their dog Chessie, set out on a road trip across Australia. It was really special to have our new staff spend time with Nadine and learn about the history and foundations of kuril dhagun through great storytelling and humour. She also did a wonderful job of teaching them the ropes!


  • Willie Prince celebrated 30 years of service with State Library. We had a lovely community celebration with cake and cookies and a special visit from Steven Renouf aka the black pearl.


  • Kuril dhagun started our T.G.I.F (True God It’s Friday) Last Cuppa gatherings. Willie organises a community catch up, with tea and biscuits, on the last Friday of each month. We would love to grow this event next year and invite more Indigenous community to join us.

TGIF (Small)

  • There were over 30 venue bookings for events and meetings held in the kuril dhagun space including two wonderful books launches; Uncle Harold Bond’s Along My Way and Aunty Ruth Hegarty’s Empty Crib.


  • We held some fun activities for Broncos member’s day, SLQ’s Fun Palace, Brisbane Festival’s Library on the Lawn, the AFL’s The Long Walk event and had a special Night by the Fire with our tidda Anita Heiss in partnership with Brisbane Writer’s Festival.


  • Kuril dhagun partnered with Griffith University to produce the Art of the Skins catalogue, which was launched at the Exhibition Closing Celebration. It is our first publication we have created and hopefully not the last. The celebration also had weaving, fish nets and possum skin wristband workshops, tours and performances throughout the day into the evening. It was a great way to acknowledge the community input and activate the cloak in the SLQ Gallery space one last time.


  • The Barambah<>Cherbourg<>Art<>Craft exhibition was opened earlier this month. It features 124 pieces of Barambah Pottery. This exhibition was co-curated with the Ration Shed Museum. It was lovely to have many Cherbourg community members travel down for the opening and have the Honourable Minister Leeanne Enoch join us for the occasion
Barambah Pottery display

Barambah Pottery display

  • Murri Christmas was such a joy! Murri Claus, our Indigenous santa, once again visited State Library. This year he rode in on the Noosa ‘First 5 Forever’ library book bike. As always there was singing dancing and photos and it was best event of the year. Big love to Getano Bann for growing that amazing white beard and making all the adults laugh and shake their heads at the same time.


I’m sure there were a few things missed, sorry if we didn’t give you a shout out, as you can see we were extremely busy! We really do appreciate everyone’s connection, engagement, love and support.

It’s been a tough year with many prominent community members and Indigenous Elders passing away. Our thoughts are with these families this holiday season. Remember to reach out to those who may be suffering from loss. We are resilient, strong and proud people and I hope that lots of happy memories and laughs are shared with loved ones.

Best wishes for a very deadly Christmas and solid New Year!

~ from the kuril dhagun team. xx