Mara: Indigenous design, politics and food culture celebrates the cultural heritage and living culture of Aboriginal people in north Queensland. In the Nyirrma (language) of the Djabuguy, Yirrganydji, Bulway, Nyakali and Guluy groups, mara means hand. In this context it refers to the hand that makes, gathers, prepares and hunts.
The exhibition presents designed objects that are used in food gathering and preparation as a large-scale installation work. Also represented are designed objects used as adornments in ceremonial and cultural practices that utilise the bones, teeth and the shells of the hunted animals.
Mara highlights the continuing importance of Country to Aboriginal people, and the legal battles that were, and continue to be, fought to maintain traditional hunting rights and practices on the land and in the waterways to sustain these practices.
The exhibition brings together more than two hundred and fifty traditional and contemporary artefacts used for hunting and food gathering in Far North Queensland. Many of the works on display are on loan from the Kowanyama Culture and Research Centre (a community keeping place) that has an extensive and nationally significant collection of rare objects and artefacts dating back to pre-contact years. These works are now in the community’s care due to the lifelong work and commitment of Viv Sinnamon, former Manager of the Kowanyama Aboriginal Land and Natural Resources Management Office.
The Gallery is thrilled that a number of these objects have been loaned to the exhibition, while other works are on loan from the Cairns Historical Society and private lenders. Responding to the themes of the exhibition, a number of Cairns based artists have completed new works for the exhibition.
with Henrietta Fourmile-Marrie AM featuring Malu Kawai Dancers from Boigu Island
Wednesday 11 July, 6.00 pm
with Bernard Singleton Jnr-Guest Curator and Teho Ropeyarn, Curator, Cairns Art Gallery
Thursday 12 July, 12.30pm
Image: Bernard SINGLETON, Gimala (fire stick) 2017, Grass tree, bamboo, clay, ochre, string, feathers. Courtesy of the Artist. Image: Michael Marzik