The Making Old Markings New exhibition opening at the Armidale Aboriginal Cultural and Keeping Place on June 7 is the result of a two year project run by the Arts North West Aboriginal Cultural Support Program with funds from the Aboriginal Regional Arts Fund through Create NSW.
The Making Old Markings New project was facilitated by Aboriginal Project Manager Pene Riggs and provided professional skills development to four Anaiwan and Kamilaroi artists; Adele Chapman-Burgess, Lorrayne Riggs, Rod McIntosh and Nick Levy.
The artists worked with staff Rebecca Fisher and Sharni Jones from the Australian Museum and Professor June Ross from the University of New England to explore objects and mark making traditions from the New England North West, and to visit rock art sites in the New England, applying this rediscovered knowledge to their professional contemporary arts practice.
The group visited the Australian Museum to view the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collection, receiving a tour of collection storage rooms with special focus on the artefacts from the New England and North West region. This was a very moving experience for everyone involved, inciting many different emotions within the group.
Artist Rod McIntosh said he felt “privileged to be part of such a unique arts project that reinforced the importance of cultural art and identity connected to our country and traditional boundaries. To see such various places, sites and artefacts that many people of our Tribal Nations may not see is such an honour”
Along with Professor June Ross, the group also visited several rock art sites in the North England region including Wattle Ridge Guyra, Mt Yarrowyck, Goonoowigall, Inverell and Boundary Rock Moonbi to view the traditional mark making symbols and techniques that make the New England North west region unique. Throughout these visits the group was accompanied by traditional custodians and Elders of the area.
The Making Old Markings New exhibition expresses a strengthened connection of the artists to their culture as they share their journey and discoveries of the project through the creation of new artworks.
The exhibition will open at 6pm on 7 June at the Armidale Aboriginal Cultural and Keeping Place until 23 July.