Mornington Island women paint the stories running through their veins
Dugongs, stingrays, fish and saltwater will seep into the white walls as stories of country and culture will be on display at Woolloongabba Art Gallery (WAG) in Queensland for the next month.
MIArt studio at Mirndiyan Gunua, Mornington Island is a place for Dreaming. The studio works with artists to create paintings of songlines, stories and memories.
WAG will host Mirndiyan Gunua – Place for Dreaming, an exhibition of paintings sharing Dreaming stories from across the reef with community.
The paintings are extremely personal insights into the intimate identities of the artists who create them; stories of joy, sadness and culture that lead centuries into the past.
Featured senior artist, Dolly Loogatha said painting is something that enables women to show love for their country.
“It is about country, where we came from. We do it all with our own minds, and our chest – we do it for love and for the love of where we come from,” Ms Loogatha said.
“It reminds me of how I love the rocks, the birds the leaves and the country and the river.”
Ms Loogatha paints the stories she dreams of her father’s country. Her father, King Alfred, came from Rukathi on Bentinck Island – the second largest island of Wellesley Islands in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
“My painting is about my dad’s country – my heart was so heavy, I was wishing to be there. It is hard for us,” Ms Loogatha said.
“This painting, it’s part of our culture, but it’s personal. We do our own, from our family’s heart.”
“Most of mine are about turtles, or dugongs or birds – it’s in my veins. I dream it, it’s in my head.”
Beriline Loogatha, gallery manager and Dolly’s niece, said painting for the women is a special time.
“When they are painting, they’re all sitting and laughing, they go through moments of silence but then they talk again. They speak to one another about the paintings – it is beautiful to be a part of,” she said.
Ms Loogatha hopes that this will inspire public interest in the stories of women living on Mornington Island, and the artwork they create.
The exhibition at Woolloongabba Art Gallery opens October 4 and will remain open until November 2.
For more information visit: http://wag.com.au/.
By Rachael Knowles
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