Ceramics exhibition tells stories of remote communities

A new ceramic art exhibition highlights the works and stories of eight artists from remote Indigenous communities around Australia.

The works are the result of a new residency program at The Australian National University (ANU) and are on display as part of the ‘Berder. Gaba. Urrknga. Wantja.’ exhibition.

The title of the exhibition uses the closest word for ‘clay’ from each community.

The artists’ ceramics are decorated to illustrate the traditional stories and lives of their respective communities.

Artist Judith Inkamala lives in the Hermannsburg Aboriginal community 125 kilometres southwest of Alice Springs and has been making ceramic art for more than 30 years.

One of her pieces depicts an intricate representation of ‘bush medicine’.

Ms Inkamala said the medicine is a type of ointment made from camel fat, rubbed on the skin to sooth cuts, bruises and sore muscles.

The residency is run by Joanne Searle of the ANU School of Art and Design Ceramics Workshop.

Ms Searle said the residency allows artists from communities around Australia to share skills and stories.

“Indigenous artists have been using clay for thousands of years, in fact some of the first known clay works have been found in Australia,” Ms Searle said.

“These are stories and techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation.

“Together the artists have travelled more than 18,000 kilometres to be here from some of the most remote parts of Australia.

“It has been great to see the artists discussing ideas and trying out new techniques.

“They are very open to talking about their work and our students have been able to watch and learn from the artists.”

The residency program consists of established and emerging artists from four remote community art centres – Erub Arts of Torres Strait Islands, Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre of Cardwell in Queensland, Hermannsburg Potters in the Northern Territory and Ernabella Arts in the far northwest of South Australia.

The exhibition is now open and will run through to Saturday 1 June at the Nishi Gallery.

The artists involved are:

Pepai Jangala Carroll, Ernabella, South Australia

Derek Thompson, Ernabella South Australia

Judith Inkamala, Hermannburg, Northern Territory

Beth Inkamala, Hermannburg, Northern Territory

Nelphi Denham, Cardwell, Queensland

Alison Murray, Cardwell, Queensland

Ellarose Savage, Erub Island, Torres Strait

Racy Oui-Pitt, Erub Island, Torres Strait

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