Manggan – gather, gathers, gathering is a captivating exhibition of works by artists from the Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre, which is located in Cardwell, Far North Queensland. The Centre represents artists from nine Traditional Owner groups - the Nywaigi, Gugu Badhun, Warrgamay, Warungnu, Bandjin, Girramay, Gulnay, Jirrbal and Djiru people. Their traditional country covers more than twenty-five thousand square kilometres, from north of Townsville, southwest to Clarke River, north to the Mission Beach area, west to Ravenshoe and east to include Hinchinbrook and the Family Group Islands.
Emerging from the rainforest canopy and a culture spanning countless generations, Girringun artists are transforming traditional stories into visual images and designs using a variety of media including weaving, painting, ceramics, textiles and carving. A continuing close connection to place, lore and culture provides inspiration for their work, which embraces traditional and contemporary concepts and techniques.
The exhibition includes ceramics, weaving, photographs, film and cultural material from the South Australian Museum. Girringun artists are renowned weavers and are recognized for their skill in creating bicornual baskets (jawun) – a style of basket weaving that is unique to the Indigenous rainforest groups of northeast Queensland in the near-coastal region between Cairns and Ingham. In the latter part of the nineteenth century European pastoralists and Chinese miners settled in this are, which made it impossible for the local Indigenous peoples to collect the lawyer cane used in the construction of the baskets, and production of jawun all but ceased. In recent times the traditional owners and contemporary artists have revived the skills and knowledge needed to make these distinctive baskets.
Manggan – gather, gathers, gathering is a collaborative project between the Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre and the South Australian Museum.
Emily Murray, Theresa Beeron, Ninney Murray, Group of 3 Bagu, ceramic and Lawyer cane, various sizes. Courtesy of Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre.