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Rechelle Turner, Ngaraang, 2021.

When:

Saturday 28th May to 16th of July, 2022. Foyer gallery

Details:

Over the last couple of years, Turner has been experimenting with her art and her connection to Country and Culture. One of her first assignments at university was to create a teaching resource. When she came away from res school, she had this idea to embed the language in the art that would be used in this resource. Then we went into Lockdown. 

When making these artworks I started with making one of a kind Indigenous-inspired Artisan paper to be used to cut up to make the animal collages. As a part of this process, it was important for me to embed the Wiradjuri language in the art. To do this I created some ‘paper’ using Wiradjuri words and definitions straight from the ‘A New Wiradjuri Dictionary’ (Grant Snr & Rudder, 2010). I deliberately chose to do this and use these words IN the collages to try and convey how Wiradjuri is. By including these words IN the animal collages, I am hoping to express how deeply our language is central to our being, our identity, and our relationship to everything.

It is this theme of embedding the language in the artwork that I have also carried over to other subsequent artworks that I have created. This course has been life-changing for me and my family. I had underestimated the sense of power, of connection, that I would feel when reconnecting with Wiradyuri culture and language. I can only hope to promote healing in our community for those like me who have been dispossessed of their cultural and linguistic heritage. And I hope that these artworks and resources can be used to help that.

Artist bio

I am a proud Wiradyuri woman, mother and emerging artist living on Ngunnawal Country. Growing up Indigenous and not knowing your culture leaves a hole in your identity. Since the birth of my son, I have been ‘pushed’ by the old people to reconnect with my Culture. In 2020 I began a Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language Culture and History. This has been an incredible and life-changing journey. I feel immense privilege being the first in my family to learn about our language and culture, but also a sense of guilt that my mother hadn’t learnt it before me. As tradition tells us, it should have been passed down from generation to generation. Unfortunately, colonisation has disrupted this cultural practice; in participating in this course, it has become my responsibility to help to strengthen Wiradyuri language in our people and to ensure the continual passing on of cultural knowledge. I am in no way a trained artist and I have not been taught the traditional Wiradyuri way. The collage artworks that I have created are all my own and are influenced by my knowledge and understanding of Wiradyuri Language and Culture. I would describe myself as a Contemporary Wiradjuri Artist.