A new outdoor exhibition of original artworks on calico, Gurayndja, will be launched at NAISDA Dance College on Sunday 8 November in celebration of NAIDOC 2020 and 65,000 years’ spiritual and cultural connection to Country.
Developed by NAISDA students during the COVID-19 lockdown, Gurayndja – meaning Always in Darkinjung language – honours this year’s NAIDOC theme Always Was, Always Will Be.
The artworks reflect the students’ connection to their own Country as well as the Yolŋu kinship they are adopted into by NAISDA Cultural Tutors from Nyinyikay, North East Arnhem Land.
NAISDA Head of Cultural Practice Jo Clancy, explained this important connection.
“We were extremely fortunate to have our Cultural Tutors in residence just prior to the lockdown to share their special gift of Yolŋu culture with NAISDA students,” said Jo.
“Inspired by cultural learning, the calicos are beautiful expressions of the importance of our connection to place, lands, waters and each other.
“The exhibition is a powerful reminder that this Always Was, Always Will Be a continent with a 65,000+ year history to celebrate,” she added.
The artworks will be launched within the outdoor “bush gallery” setting of Nhangara Barayi, NAISDA’s outdoor dancing ground.
A COVID-safe event for invited guests on the first day of NAIDOC Week will include audio recordings played in language of Cultural Tutors from Nyiniykay, a Smoking Ceremony, and cultural performance by NAISDA students.
Following NAIDOC, the exhibition will be remounted indoors as part of NAISDA’s onsite end of year celebration in early December, in lieu of its annual Sydney Performance Season.
The artworks will also be translated into a virtual experience online, making them accessible to wider communities and audiences during COVID.
The digital exhibition will include film capturing the bush gallery installation, launch performance, and interviews with NAISDA students.
Many of the artworks – which will be available for sale at the launch event – have been kindly donated by the NAISDA students.
All proceeds from artwork sales will go towards resources for the community of Nyinyikay.