Thursday, March 28, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Mangrove: Peeling Back The Past

An upcoming exhibition and publication will showcase landscapes, portraits, weaving, interpreted cultural stories and imagery from four local Mackay artists. The exhibition will also include collected stories, photographs and portraits from Elders sourced from the Multicultural community in the Mackay region.

Mangrove is a visual arts exhibition which will be a collaboration of four women artists, Veronica Ah-Wang, traditional owner of Yuwibara country, Visual Storyteller; Janet Ambrose, descendant of the Portugees-Israelitische Kerk (Portuguese Israelite Church) Sephardic Jews, Artist and Curator; Marion F. Healy, Australian South Sea Islander, Watercolourist and Portrait Artist; Anita Wano- Sumner is of Torres Strait Islander descent. Anita is a Weaver of natural fibres and dressmaker of the traditional Augemwali (Torres Strait Islander dress).

“The mangrove is symbolic in this project as its about removal from place, and settling in new lands just how a seed pod from the mangrove does,” explains Janet Ambrose.

“Mangrove is about peeling back the layers of the migrations of many nations living in Australia, its perception of who we are and who we think we are.”

Artworks will display paintings in watercolours, oil painting, pastels, drawings in pencil and charcoal. Paper, canvas, and gathered natural materials will be also used. The weaving work will be of sculptural forms in raffia and natural materials found in the environment.

The project begins with deep engagement with Elders, supported by paid Cultural Advisors, and partnerships where necessary, with key Multicultural organisations.

Each artist will tell a story of their cultural history through their own arts practice, with permissions gained on the landscape work of Janet Ambrose from Cultural Advisors, paying particular attention to sensitive sites in the region.

Notable support has come from The Neighbourhood Hub on George Street, Li Xianghong, Chairperson, Chinese Community Mackay and Local Elders confirming their support: George Tonga, respected Elder of the Yuwibara Country, Vivien Hanrahan, celebrated volunteer and respected Elder of the Filipino community, Doug Mooney, Elder of the Aboriginal and Australian South Sea Islander community, Philip Kemp, Elder and Traditional Custodian of Yuwibara Country.

This work will be displayed at Gallery 31, CQ University, Sydney Street from April 10 to April 26.

Workshops and artist talks will be conducted by the artists and stories will be gathered from the Multicultural community and compiled into a publication, accompanied by photographs of artworks, weaving work and photography of the progress of works by Veronica Ah-Wang, Janet Ambrose, Marion F. Healy and Anita Wano-Sumner.

“This exhibition examines the generations of the many people and their cultural existence in the Mackay region.

“We thank the participants for giving their time and being a part of this exhibition.”

The participants will have a deep engagement with the project in advising the direction the project takes to ensure correct documentation of stories and consultation with known histories.

The exhibition and publication will be a valuable resource to the Mackay community in the recording of stories of Elders who have contributed greatly to the community.

(Left to Right) Veronica Ah-Wang, Marion F. Healy, Anita Wano Sumner and Janet Ambrose. There will be photos of the Mangroves in the exhibition by Nadine Tass 

Photo Credit: Cherrie Hughes Social Media & Photography.

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