Celebrating culture through art

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Twelve budding Nyoongar artists from Challenger TAFE celebrated NAIDOC Week recently with a vibrant cultural exhibition in Mandurah.

The art students displayed a significant body of work, including charcoal drawings, paintings and installations, at the Alcoa Mandurah Art Gallery.

The Winjan Wilgi exhibition featured an Aboriginal dance and didgeridoo performance and a Welcome to Country by Winjan Aboriginal Corporation chairman Franklyn Nannup.

Challenger TAFE Peel regional director Mardi Dwyer said the occasion was a wonderful opportunity for the local community to experience the rich culture of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“This is the seventh exhibition by students from Challenger TAFE’s art and design programs and it’s a great way for them to explore and demonstrate their creativity,” Mardi said.

“The charcoal images in the exhibition were students’ impressions of the bush surrounding the Winjan Aboriginal Corporation in Pinjarra, where their study is based.

“This type of event helps build students’ confidence in themselves and their work. It also teaches them how to organise professional exhibitions, from installing and dismantling artworks to making contacts in the industry.”

Ms Dwyer said some Challenger TAFE Aboriginal art graduates had recently started their own enterprise, Winjan Cultural Tours, which encouraged schools to visit Winjan Aboriginal Corporation to learn about Aboriginal culture.

The graduates also conducted cultural cruises, in which visitors could hear a commentary about the cultural history of the area and experience Aboriginal food, dance and didgeridoo performances.

NAIDOC stands for the National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee. It began in the 1930s and has grown to become a week in which the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are celebrated.

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