National Reconciliation Week:Art gives a voice in the Corowa Art Space

Published on 22 May 2023


Federation Council will kick off National Reconciliation Week with the official opening of the Currawa Crossing exhibition at the Corowa Art Space on Monday 29 May 2023 as well as the launch of an Expression of Interest for Aboriginal artists to contribute to Council’s forthcoming Reconciliation Action Plan.

“Art is the perfect platform to explore our shared histories, cultures and achievements and provides an opportunity to reflect on how we can contribute to reconciliation in Australia,” said Mayor Pat Bourke. “Council is inviting residents and visitors to visit the Corowa Art Space and experience the work of some of the region’s Aboriginal artists.”

Currawa Crossing will showcase Contemporary Aboriginal artworks from Owen Lyons, Elijah Ingram and Sonia Undy. Their vibrant and expressive works combine a variety of Traditional and modern techniques spanning across weaving, dot painting and abstractionism.

Owen Lyons, a Wiradjuri artist from Narrandera (Narrungdera) uses his art to explore current and Traditional themes: “My art is representative of the connections to the beautiful the land on which I live and work, and the flora and fauna that thrive there. My art also tells of my personal journey which reflects the impacts of the mental health issues my son experiences. Painting has been a release for me in representing what I feel in response to the mental health journey our family is on. I love to depict artworks that include traditional Wiradjuri symbols and painting techniques, as well as contemporary imagery.”

Wiradjuri artist Elijah Ingram notes the changing perceptions surrounding First Nations’ art: “It’s a struggle within myself between making authentic Aboriginal Art and still having it be contemporary. You get a lot of people with a very closed mindset on what counts as Aboriginal Art, but because I am Aboriginal, I class anything I make as Aboriginal art no matter what concept sits behind the work.”

Entry to Currawa Crossing is free. Open Wednesday - Friday 10 am - 4 pm, Saturday & Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm.

Council is currently drafting their first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). Based around the core pillars of relationships, respect and opportunities, the RAP outlines actions for the Council to take in order to enhance relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and create genuine change. It will guide Council to sustainably and strategically take meaningful action to advance reconciliation.

As part of the RAP development, we are inviting submissions from Aboriginal Artists who live, work and connect with the Federation Council area to create an original artwork to be accessioned to the Federation Council’s art collection. The selected work will be used for branding resources related to Federation Council’s Innovate RAP. The successful artist will be eligible to receive a project fee of $5,000. For more information and submission details please visit the Federation Council website. Expressions of interest are due by 5pm by Sunday July 9 2023.

“The Council is committed to walking alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to connect, learn and create opportunities and celebrate the communities in which we live and work”, said Mr Bourke. “The drafting of a RAP is our first formal step towards this commitment and we are proud to be commissioning an artwork to acknowledge this.”

National Reconciliation Week is held annually from May 27 to June 3. 

The theme for National Reconciliation Week 2023, Be a Voice for Generations, encourages all Australians to be a voice for reconciliation in tangible ways in our everyday lives – where we live, work and socialise.

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