Sydfest2021 Blak Out Event: Djillong Dumularra

January 16, 2021 – April 5, 2021 all-day

Venue: Artspace

Location: 43 – 51 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo NSW

Presented by Artspace and Sydney Festival djillong dumularra features the work of Carol McGregor (Wathaurung, Kulin Nation) and Judy Watson (Waanyi), two Indigenous Australian artists working with historical material and narratives to illuminate the continuing strength of Indigenous culture. With significant new commissions, the exhibition reinforces connections to country and cultural heritage through making as an act of resistance, communion, self-determination and celebration.

McGregor works with ephemeral natural fibres, paint, clay, metal and paper. Her recent art practice also involves the revival of the traditional possum skin cloak as an art form and a way to strengthen community and individual identities. Included in the exhibition is Wreath for Oodgeroo, 2020, a possum skin cloak depicting a wreath of native plants found on Minjerriba (Stradbroke Island) to honour the leadership and insight of black rights activist, poet, artist, environmentalist and educator Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker). McGregor is also working with members of the La Perouse Aboriginal Community to create a new possum skin cloak commissioned for djillong dumularra that will remain with the La Perouse Community in perpetuity after the exhibition.

Watson engages with site, collections and archives, and collective memory to reveal the impact of colonial history and discrimination against Aboriginal people, and to celebrate the strength of Aboriginal cultural practice. Her major new installation, skullduggery, draws on 1930s correspondence between Matron Agnes Kerr from Burketown Hospital in the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Wellcome Museum in London about the trade in Australian Aboriginal ancestral remains. Engaging with this difficult material across video, painting and performance, Watson highlights the treatment of First Peoples as a commodity and resource for exploitation as well as the complex contemporary issues around repatriation.

Addressing the archive and harnessing shared knowledge across time and place, McGregor and Watson both engage in processes of collaborative creation and revival to present a series of works that speak to each other across the gallery and beyond into the world.

Carol McGregor and Judy Watson in conversation with Wesley Enoch, Artistic Director, Sydney Festival
Wed 20 January at 12.30pm – via livestream HERE
Runtime: 60 mins

Join artists Carol McGregor and Judy Watson for an insightful in conversation with Sydney Festival Artistic Director Wesley Enoch exploring their work in djillong dumularra.