Indigenous design, politics and food culture

29 Jun –
9 Sep 2018

Mara: Indigenous design, politics and food culture celebrates the cultural heritage and living culture of Aboriginal people in north Queensland. In the local Djabuguy, Yirrganydji, Bulway, Nyagali and Gulay language groups mara means hand, and in this context it refers to the hand that makes, gathers, prepares and hunts.

This exhibition brings together more than two hundred 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 impressive collection of rare objects and artefacts. In 2008 it was assessed as a Collection of National Significance. The Gallery is thrilled that a number of these 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.

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.

It also 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 waterways to sustain these practices.



Boyd Aidan
Michael Boiyool Anning
Simone Arnol
Hazel Barr
Edgar Bendigo
Blue Bob
Kawanji Brady 
Manjal Brady
Henry Brim
Rhonda Brim
Jack Bruno
Frank Coleman
Warwick David Snr
Ralph Dennis

Frank George
Caleb Hall
Maynie Henry
Yvonne Henry 
Vera Highbury
Elverina Johnson
Richard Koonutta
Doris Lawrence 
Payluw kana luw AKA Minh turr (Patrick Eric Snr)
Garth Murgha
Irwin Murgha
June Noble
Banjo Patterson

Stewart Patterson
Wvrrengvn Cecil Rutland
Bernard Lee Singleton
Thakvthew (Arthur Major) 
Delissa Walker
Doreen Yam
Lofty Yam
Kawn yap pinal wan (Walter Greenwood) 
Murrandoo Yanner
Koch Yawrrnh (Jerry Mission) 
Pansy Zingle


Selected works



The Cairns Art Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we work and live. We pay our respects to Elders past and present. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, names or voices of deceased persons in photographs, film or text.