2015 IMAGinE Awards Profile: Bathurst Possum Skin Cloak Healing Workshop

Possum skin cloak is presetned at Bathurst Proclamation day celebrations

Possum skin cloak is presented at Bathurst Proclaimation day celebrations. Courtesy: Bathurst Regional Gallery. Photo: Grant Paterson.

Nominations for the IMAGinE awards are now open so to help you get thinking about which projects and programs to nominate in 2016 we thought we’d take a look at one of last year’s highly commended programs.

The Bathurst Regional Art Gallery’s Possum Skin Cloak Healing Workshop was highly commended in the Engagement Programs category for organisations with 3 -10 staff, and took place in the lead up to Bathurst’s Bicentenary celebrations. The Gallery worked with the Bathurst Wiradjuri community and Elders, and Banmirra Arts Inc. to host the workshop over three days in late 2014.

The workshop presented an important opportunity for local Aboriginal communities, particularly women and children, to work together to learn the cultural skills and protocols of cloak-making, one of the most sacred cultural expressions of the Aboriginal people of south-eastern Australia. By facilitating skill-sharing, discussion and cultural connection with members of the Aboriginal community, the workshop enabled the opportunity for the non-Aboriginal community to learn about Wiradjuri heritage.

Two cloaks were created: one was used at events commemorating the 200 year anniversary of the proclamation of Bathurst, and the other was presented to Bathurst’s Mayor in a symbolic gesture of goodwill and a powerful act of Reconciliation.

The Elders group have since worked the Charles Sturt University (CSU) Indigenous Learning Unit to create two more cloaks, which were included in CSU’s Marra Marra Badhang exhibition. The Unit has also started to create learning resources around the practice of cloak-making which ties in with the work they have been doing with Wiradjuri language, astronomy and plant identification.

 

Jonathan Jones, badhangbu murrubu (possum-skin cloak and designs)

Jonathan Jones, badhangbu murrubu (possum-skin cloak and designs), 2014–15, murru (designs), 2015. From the exhibition guwiinyguliya yirgabiyi ngay yuwin.gu gulbalangidyal ngunhi (they made a solitude and called it peace), Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, 2 October – Sunday 22 November 2015. Photo: Sharon Hickey.

The cloaks were also displayed in Jonathan Jones’ exhibition they made a solitude and called it peace at the Gallery in late 2015. This significant exhibition received a Highly Commended in the 2016 Museums and Galleries National Awards which were awarded last month.

Since submitting their IMAGinE nomination last year, the Gallery picked up another lucrative award for the program, taking out the John Copeman Award (Overall Winner) in the 2015 Bathurst Bicentenary National Trust Heritage Awards.

The program has generated a positive and lasting legacy for the Bathurst community. It has provided a powerful tool for healing and cultural pride within the local Aboriginal community, as well as providing an important opportunity to showcase and share Wiradjuri culture, history and heritage with the broader Bathurst community.

If your organisation has carried out an engagement program between 1 July 2015 – 30 June 2016 which deserves to be nominated for an IMAGinE award then visit the web page to find out how to submit your nomination.

Nominations close 5pm, Friday 12 August 2016. 

 

 

  • Visitors at the Flood! exhibition. Courtesy Hawkesbury Regional Museum.

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    Imagine 2015 - Museum Projects

    Visitors at the Flood! exhibition. Courtesy Hawkesbury Regional Museum.

  • Locals participate in a Poppy Wall community workshop. Courtesy Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery.

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    Imagine 2015 - Gallery Projects

    Locals participate in a Poppy Wall community workshop. Courtesy Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery.

  • Joyce Hinterding, Large Square Logarithmic VLF Loop Antenna

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    Imagine 2015 - Gallery Projects

    Joyce Hinterding, Large Square Logarithmic VLF Loop Antenna (detail), 2015

  • Our Rivers Our History website screenshot. Courtesy Port Macquarie Museum.

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    Imagine 2015 - Museum Projects

    Our Rivers Our History website screenshot. Courtesy Port Macquarie Museum.

  • A Fine Possession: Jewellery & Identity exhibition. Courtesy Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences.

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    Imagine 2015 - Museum Projects

    A Fine Possession: Jewellery & Identity exhibition. Courtesy Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences.

  • Berrima District Museum new gallery extension under construction. Courtesy Berrima District Museum.

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    Imagine 2015 - Sustainablity Programs

    Berrima District Museum new gallery extension under construction. Courtesy Berrima District Museum.

  • Gallery view after lighting upgrade. Courtesy Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery.

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    Imagine 2015 - Sustainablity Programs

    Gallery view after lighting upgrade. Courtesy Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery.

  • Volunteers plant trees as part of the Landcare

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    Imagine 2015 - Sustainablity Programs

    Volunteers plant trees as part of the Landcare Regeneration and Revegetation project. Courtesy Bundanon Trust.

  • Cloud Stories website. Courtesy Berrima District Museum.

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    Imagine 2015 - Engagement Programs

    Cloud Stories website. Courtesy Berrima District Museum.

  • Visitors at Neural Knitwork: Craft a healthy brain exhibition

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    Imagine 2015 - Engagement Programs

    Visitors at Neural Knitwork: Craft a healthy brain exhibition. Courtesy Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre.

  • Caroline Chisholm College and St Dominic’s College Students with artist Sarah Goffman. Courtesy Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest.

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    Imagine 2015 - Engagement Programs

    Caroline Chisholm College and St Dominic’s College Students with artist Sarah Goffman. Courtesy Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest.

  • Volunteers in the DigiVol lab. Courtesy Australian Museum.

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    Imagine 2015 - Engagement Programs

    Volunteers in the DigiVol lab. Courtesy Australian Museum.

  • Joe Eisenberg

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    Imagine 2015 - Individual Achievement

    Joe Eisenberg

  • Theodorus Bollen. Courtesy Theodorus Bollen.

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    Imagine 2015 - Individual Achievement

    Theodorus Bollen

In this article

Museums & Galleries of NSW helps museums, galleries and Aboriginal cultural centres of NSW create exciting and inspiring experiences for visitors and strong, thriving local communities. We develop their skills, connect them with others in the industry, provide funding, point visitors their way, and give them access to ground-breaking exhibitions.

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