• Manggan - Melbourne Museum - Aug 19 to Jan 20

Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Melbourne Museum is proud to present Manggan – gather, gathers, gathering - the first national touring exhibition of contemporary works by award-winning artists from Far North Queensland's Girringun Aboriginal Arts Centre.

16 August 2019 to 26 January 2020 
Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Melbourne Museum

Manggan – gather, gathers, gathering. This exhibition is a collaboration between artists from the Girringun Aboriginal Arts Centre, and a celebration of connection to country and traditional culture. With handcrafts, films and historic photographs, Manggan, boasts an opportunity for Melbournians to engage with the unique Aboriginal rainforest art traditions and the cultures of the Girringun region.

There are nineteen artists from nine Traditional Owner Groups: the Nywaigi, Gugu Badhun, Warrgamay, Warungnu, Bandjin, Girramay, Gulnay, Jirrbal and Djiru people. The traditional country of these groups covers 25,000 kilometres from the north of Townsville, and the diversity of the land’s resources is reflected in the tools and crafts.

Emily Murray, Theresa Beeron, Ninney Murray. Group of 3 Bagu. Courtesy of Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre.

Dr Valerie Keenan is the Manager of the Girringun Aboriginal Arts Centre and has guided it since it was established in 2008.

“Traditional culture is pivotal to the creativity of Traditional Owner artists in the Girringun region,” said Dr Keenan. “This exhibition not only demonstrates this creativity but also provides visible evidence of an evolution of objects created for use, such as tools, to objects with a more aesthetic purpose."

"The contemporary objects are instilled with newer values which reflect aesthetic taste, authenticity, economic pressures and an element of nostalgia. Displayed side by side, the new and the old, the objects create a dialogue of contrast and of change.”

Mr Abe Muriata, is a Girramay Traditional Owner. He explains the craftsmanship of the traditional Jawun, a style of woven basket  unique to the Girringun region:

“I am a Girramay man, an artist and a weaver. I make Jawun, the bicornual basket. My work is a culmination of ten years’ learning and it has essentially been a re-learning of a nearly lost craft. One of my Jawun is included in this show. Beside the really beautiful Jawun which has been loaned from the South Australian Museum, my Jawun pales in comparison. Honed by thousands of years of craftsmanship, the old basket embodies the perfection of skill at the hand of the maker who learned their knowledge as a kind of apprenticeship.” 

Unknown artist. Small Basket (Jawun). 1890s. Courtesy of South Australian Museum.

Featured artists: Daniel Beeron, George Beeron Snr, Maureen Beeron, Theresa Beeron,  Nancy Cowan, Nephi Denham, Sandra Escott, Tonya Grant, Judith Henry, Clarence Kinjun, Doris Kinjun, Abe Muriata, Alison Murray, Debra Murray, Emily Murray, John Murray, Ninney Murray, Sally Murray and Eileen Tep.

For more information see museumsvictoria.com.au/bunjilaka/