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Koori Mail
Our national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander newspaper

The Voice of Indigenous Australia
Troy Jungaji Brady speaks to the rally for Aunty Sherry in Meanjin (Brisbane) on Friday.

‘National emergency’

THE death in custody of Aunty Sherry two weeks ago has prompted calls for urgent national leadership.

Sherry Fisher-Tiberoo, 49, was found dead in her cell at the Brisbane Watch House on September 10 after being remanded in custody on September 7 following a court appearance.

Australia’s peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal body, NATSILS, described the situation as a ‘national emergency’.

“This is a national emergency and we demand urgent national leadership,” NATSILS co-chair Nerita Waight said in a statement. 

“This lack of accountability means that in practice there is no penalty for the death of our people…

Latest News Stories

Self-portrait by Meyne Wyatt, winner of the Packing Room Prize.

Meyne Wyatt breaks new ground with self-portrait

Wednesday, 23 September 2020 4:55 pm

FIRST-time Archibald prize entrant Meyne Wyatt has broken new ground to win the Packing Room Prize for his self-portrait. 

The Wongutha-Yamatji man is the first Indigenous artist to win any of the prizes on offer at the Archibald Prize in its 99-year history. 

Already a widely recognised actor, Wyatt made headlines when he performed a powerful four-minute-monologue from his play City Of Gold on ABC TV’s Q&A in June. 

The Western Australian-born, Sydney- based artist, writer and actor said he was “absolutely ecstatic and truly humbled by this wonderful honour”. 

Art Gallery of New South Wales head packer Brett Cuthbertson said it was unusual for a self-portrait to win the prize, which comes with $1500. 

“I have been known to say that artists who enter a self-portrait have no hope of winning … but in this case I made an exception to my rule,” he said. 

“When Meyne came into the gallery to deliver his entry he said he hadn’t painted in some time and the work was just a COVID project. I loved the story and was really impressed with the result.” 

Wyatt’s painting was selected from 55 finalist works and is only the second self- portrait to win the Packing Room Prize in its 29-year history. 

“Most of all I want to thank my mum, who encouraged me to enter the Archibald Prize in the first place and gave me the courage to be so bold,” Wyatt said. 

“In a way, that is the essence of the painting and what it reflects – to be bold.” Wyatt’s mother Susan Wyatt is also an…

Tribal leader and prominent Wangan and Jagalingou spokesperson Adrian Burragubba has returned to his ceremonial camp.

Sovereignty at stake as TOs stand their ground

Wednesday, 23 September 2020 4:52 pm

WANGAN and Jagalingou traditional owners are fearful that the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine will be a catastrophe every bit as destructive and hurtful to their land, culture, and people, as the recent blasting of sacred 46,000 year-old caves at Juukan Gorge in the Pilbara. 

Tribal leader and prominent Wangan and Jagalingou spokesperson Adrian Burragubba told the Koori Mail that Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners returned to their country near the Adani mine site on September 6, only to be immediately confronted by Adani security personnel. 

“We have returned to our ceremonial camp after we were moved on by police at Adani’s behest (in August),” Mr Burragubba said. 

“We have a right to be here and Adani has no right to remove us. 

“Any attempt to evict us may result in assault and racial discrimination charges.” 

Mr Burragubba and other W&J traditional owners said they refuse to be intimidated by Adani, even after they were forced to move off their own country by police officers on August 28. 

The police acted after Adani, who holds the Moray Downs pastoral lease where the ceremonial camp is located, claimed that Mr Burragubba and others were trespassing on their own land. 

Mr Burragubba said Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners are being forced to fight Adani and the state just to be on their own country, so that they can be there to honour their ancestors and protect their land just as Wangan and Jagalingou people have done for millennia. 

He said the Indian mining… 

Penny Evans with Grandmother’s Mark from Language of the Wounded. Picture: Michelle Eabry

Penny marks her connection to nature and her ancestors’ bloodlines in clay

Wednesday, 23 September 2020 4:49 pm

ARTIST Penny Evans is inspired by nature and her ancestral connections to her Gomeroi bloodlines. Penny’s latest collection of ceramic sculpture Language of the Wounded is on show at the Lismore Regional Gallery in northern NSW. 

The hand built clay pieces are displayed on the walls of the gallery space with markings and carvings that reflect and embody her Gomeroi ancestry. Each piece is unique and an evolution in her artistic practice. The sculptural works seem very bone like – remains that reflect middens, marking them with cuts and wounds. 

The design work on the ceramics references Penny’s cultural heritage in combination with the unique and evolving graphic style she has developed since graduating from art school. Penny says that the process of layering and carving out then layering again comes from an Italian technique called sgraffito. 

“There are so many different types of clay and glazes – you can dig your own clay from the natural sources or get commercially resourced clay. 

“The glazes and finishes allow so much potential, so the sky’s the limit in terms of how you can experiment,” she said. 

“I went to art school and wanted to be a painter when I first started creating. I met a great group of artists who were using clay as…

Rex Greeno at home in Launceston with a 2.57-metre lukrapina reed canoe he made from river reeds gathered from beside kanamaluka/Tamar River, which his home overlooks.

Tradition rescued

Wednesday, 23 September 2020 4:45 pm

WHEN Uncle Rex Greeno retired after 40 years as a professional fisherman, he knew there was another way to celebrate his love for the sea and his culture.

That’s why Uncle Rex decided to resurrect the science and art of traditional canoe construction, which had not been seen in Tasmania since the early 19th century. 

For this year’s National Science Week, participants were invited to take part in a special webinar, an online audio-visual experience of Uncle Rex talking about the science behind his canoe making. 

The webinar was developed by the University of Tasmania’s Plimsoll Gallery, in collaboration with the Office of the Pro Vice Chancellor, Aboriginal Leadership. 

As part of the presentation Uncle Rex spoke to the audience about how traditional canoe making relates to his Tasmanian Aboriginal culture, and how his experience as a boat builder of European boats has helped with the construction of his canoes. 

Participants were encouraged to look deeper into the rich cultural knowledge and science behind Tasmanian Aboriginal canoe making through various resources and learning materials, including a ‘how to’ demonstration and instructions on how to make your own canoe. 

“I acquired a book on the early watercraft of Tasmanian Aboriginal people and it was after reading it I decided to build a similar canoe,” Uncle Rex said. 

Alatye (Bush Yam), an installation by Rachel Wallace, at Parrtjima 2020, the First Nations festival of light.

Festival shines its light on country and culture

Wednesday, 23 September 2020 4:42 pm

PARRTJIMA – A Festival in Light drew to a close last weekend, but if you weren’t able to visit Mparntwe (Alice Springs) you can still check out the stunning light installations online. 

The annual festival features the illumination of the majestic MacDonnell Ranges and an incredible display of immersive artworks, plus a program that included talks with Rhoda Roberts, Parrtjima curator and First Nations advisor. 

“Parrtjima is definitely a once-in-a lifetime pilgrimage all Australians should make, under the desert skies, surrounded by ancient landscapes that shift and shape each generation as the oldest culture adapts and continues its lessons since time immemorial,” Rhoda said. 

“The response over the last five days of programming has been so encouraging, with interest increasing daily. 

“To see audiences emotionally moved by our Ranges light show shows there is an appetite for this sort of experience. There is a recognition that Aboriginal culture is our advantage, a unique point of difference and of national value. 

“Our visitors want to learn more about the incredible large-scale installations, our cultures, and the knowledge that is so generously passed on by our custodians and cultural guides. All this is why Parrtjima is transformative, uplifting and shines a light on the oldest living, adapting culture on the planet…

Nickolla Clark paints the detail on one of the entrance poles of the Mullum Gateway project. Her work stands next to (the late) Uncle Digby Moran’s original story pole, and builds on the storytelling tradition.

Painting our stories: Nickolla uses the colours of country to depict her story

Wednesday, 23 September 2020 4:34 pm

NICKOLLA Clark is an Arakwal Bumberbin Bundjalung Woman from Byron Bay. She is a coastal person of Walgun Gabanbaa (Byron Bay area) and is making waves in the region with her paintbrush. 

Nickolla’s passion for storytelling through art caught the eye of her Aunty Delta Kay, who approached her and asked to paint a mural at the Mullum Gateway to represent aspects of country. 

The Mullum gateway project includes a collaboration of working artists and the prominent Mullum story pole, first painted by Bundjalung artist, the late Uncle Digby Moran and Richard Clarke. 

The Mullumbimby Gateway was constructed in 1988 as a Bicentenary project, with the aim of creating a dramatic visual new entrance to the town of Mullumbimby. 

“My passion for painting is how I stay connected to my family’s stories, country and family, alongside showcasing our culture and advocating for cultural awareness and appreciation of our cultures’ designs,” Nickolla said. 

The up-and-coming Arakwal artist has painted two mural artworks on the entrance poles next to Uncle Digby Moran’s original story pole, one of the largest poles in the southern hemisphere…