You could feel a buzz when you arrived for the opening of The Rivers Run Black exhibition last Friday night at the Newcastle Maritime Museum. The work of Elsie Randall simply reached out and grabbed you as you walked in, as if to say “welcome, let me share with you.” A captivating collection of paintings, each with a story, it was hard to draw away from one painting to move to the next.
Then just when you thought you’d seen as much as your eye could possibly take in, you turned the corner into an explosion of powerful works by Muraay Djeripi (aka Peter Mulcahy), each one commanding your full attention and willing you to hear its story. And finally, it was almost a sense of peace and calmness that drew you to the work of Troy Little with his paintings that gave you a feeling of being IN the ocean, being gently inspected by his beautiful creatures.
If the journey through the art wasn’t enough for the hungriest art enthusiast, guests were treated to an early taste of Sunday’s entertainment with performances by the Millabah dance troupe from the Hunter School of Performing Arts. Five dancers – Djarla Donovan, Jordan O’Davis, Phoebe MDade, Kichelle King and Sally Baker – under the tutelage of Tammy Gordon shared a variety of traditional pieces including the Clearing and Welcoming, plus contemporary dance, delighting guests with their graceful, flowing movements. A haunting finale that brought tears to the eyes of everyone there included the singing of Australia’s National Anthem in traditional Awabakal Aboriginal language. The Welcome to Country was given by Auntie June.
This truly was an inspiring, uplifting, worthy start to the weekend exhibition which included an Aboriginal Culture Day on Sunday where the Art was inspected and admired, the dancers performed to a harbourside audience, the artists taught the painting, the Elders shared the stories, and the visitors smart enough to get in there and share it all were enriched by the experience.
By Maureen O’Brien
The paint, the dots and the buzz « My Heart Magazine’s Blog