Welcome to Country by Uncle Bob Anderson at the opening of Singing Up Spirit of the Land. Raymond Walker eldest grandson of Oodgeroo of the Tribe Noonuccal reads his grandmothers poem Glad Tomorrow, blessing song and Garinga da Gana. He shares the translation. Film and editing by Paul Bishop.
As a child in the early 70s, I found poetry anthology My People by Kath Walker in my school library. First publishing in 1964 she was Australia’s first published Aboriginal poet.
Distinguished Ngugi elder and Quandamooka Traditional Owner Uncle Bob Anderson (Dr. Robert Anderson OAM) is the focus of art exhibition Singing Up Spirit of the Land. Contemporary digital and painted portrait work capture not just likeness of the elder, but spiritual meaning behind sand minings end on Minjerribah, North Stradbroke Island in 2019, a result of native title determinations granted to the Quandamooka peoples in 2011. The integrity of these artworks are testament to an enduring relationship between Aboriginal elder Uncle Bob Anderson and artist Jo Fay Duncan who identifies as an ecological artist and second generation Scot, residing on Quandamooka Country.
At 92, Uncle Bob is a living legend. His legacy concerns not only Native Title determinations over Quandamooka Country but also Aboriginal rights in the work place. These artworks are a tribute to him, an honouring of the ancestors and hope for a better world for our descendants.
This exhibition encapsulate a body of work that articulates a remarkable window, to the complex and living culture of those of and living on Quandamooka country; both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal at the time of minings end on Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island). It bespeaks of reconciliation in action in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal relations and in our collective relationship to Country – be it the homelands of our ancestors or those of anothers.
As an artist I work in many media from drawing and works on paper, to projection and sound scape. In contrast to the high tech of digital imaging recent works are assemblage sculptures simply made of drift wood and feathers all found on the wetlands and beaches of my island home. Attached are a gathering of these supernatural beings, suspended infront of shadows almost more alive than they are. Snake Bird to me is almost a creational being, there is an elephant posing as a dragonfly and another is the scull of a unicorn wolf. Winged Three Legged Horse promises sublime journeys through the ether. All were in a group exhibition part of Canaipa Mudlines: Environmental Art at Redlands Art Gallery, Nandeebie in the Quandamooka.
Drawing and tribute to Charlie Zuber a dear friend, colleague, artist and photographer.
Artists’ have worked in residence this past week at Turtle Swamp Wetlands, on Canaipa Island part of the 2019 Mudlines Residency. Studio gallery exhibition and poetry performance show-cased artworks and other musings generated through-out the year during onsite visits across the island to include locations at Rocky Point, Melomy’s wetland and littoral Shore south-east.
2019 is the year mining is set to end on Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island), thanks to Native Title determinations of 2011.
This portrait came about after two years of audio recording with Uncle Bob Anderson. The swirling spirit of the land is seen here behind and below Spirit Man as he replaces the footprints of the ancestors on former mining lease. The process involved in the painting of this work, is one of reconciliation in action recognising this momentous occasion in Australia’s post-colonial history.
A gathering of people organised by South East Queensland Birders at Toondah Harbour, Nandeebie (Cleveland, Queensland Australia) to recognise the site as a RAMSAR protected wetland in the face of massive shoreline development.
This along with the Toondah Harbour redevelopment plan is profiled in the ABC Four Corners Documentary Extinction Nation, which is reported by Stephanie March, went to air on Monday 24th June at 8.30pm. And replayed on Tuesday 25th June at 1.00pm and Wednesday 26th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.
Photo essay by Jo Fay Duncan