I get many amazing gifts doing the work i do and I am humbled by and grateful for them all... This exhibition gives me two of them....spending time with the art, reflecting, always seeing new things and especially in the quiet of the day. I also have the privilege to meet and work with people who are passionately engaged in their fields of endeavour.
Please see Dr Ewen Jarvis' excellent summary of our first free community conversation, The Aboriginal Night Sky ...
Kamilaroi woman and astrophysics student Krystal de Napoli spoke eloquently about the creative richness and layered depths of the songlines that often allow for the controlled and timely release of traditional wisdom. She also highlighted and explained how totally different sets of information can be gathered according to the gender of the researcher in the field especially in communities where there is traditional women's knowledge and traditional men's knowledge.
Dr Duane Hamacher, Senior Research Fellow, Monash Indigenous Studies Centre, explained the importance of recognizing how rich indigenous systems of sky knowledge are and how reliant we are on outdated cultural knowledge often collected and recorded without appropriate methadological scrutiny. He stressed how much Western astronomy has to learn from traditional Indigenous Australian astronomy, revealed that in Australian Indigenous culture the stars often change names according to the time of year, and described the dark emu's movement across the sky noting its correlation to certain Indigenous initiation ceremonies. He also pointed out that Australian Indigenous people are often remarkable sensitivity to the subtle colouration of stars.
Dr Jarita Holbrook, American astronomer and associate professor of physics at the University of the Western Cape, observed that many other indigenous cultures are aware of and have stories that refer to the hidden star in The Pleiades cluster, while noting that they acquired this knowledge without the use of telescopes. She also revealed that in some cultures these stars represent a group of males but in many more cases they represent women/sisters. In addition, she pointed out the challenges of being a female in heretofore male-dominated scientific disciplines, citing in one instance the natural propensity of young female students to giggle and young male students to strut: the result being that male students are often rewarded for their strutting, but the giggling of female students is rarely seen in a positive light. Jarita also drew our attention to the presence of mythologically resonant astral bodies like Algol, the Medusa star, which blinks a red eye at the earth every few days.
Dr Ewen Jarvis, curator Yering Station Art Gallery, explained how the night sky resembles a library, i.e. a vast system of encoded narratives. He used examples from the 'Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters' exhibition at the Australian National Museum to draw attention to creative Indigenous engagement with earth and sky, and went on to question the degree to which Western empirical knowledge of the sky can benefit from the creatively rich and temporally expansive depth of Australian Indigenous sky knowledge.
Each day I reflect on Hearth's journey with deep gratitude. Especially now as it's been a year since the business was launched and it's a time for reflection and celebration.
I am very grateful to welcome aboard Scott Mitchell as my business partner, and this is a great opportunity to introduce him to you. Scott grew up in small towns in Victoria, developing a love for the natural world and a strong belief in rural life and community building. Scott has particular interests in regenerative farming and Aboriginal culture; reading Bruce Pascoe's Dark Emu provided the epiphany that inspired Scott to join me at Hearth. I'm thrilled to be working with Scott as he brings years of business expertise, is a highly-motivated, creative thinker and is driven by empathic and ethical practice, and integrity.
I love each time a parcel arrives from Warlukurlangu and I get to unwrap the exquisite pieces. It's always such a thrill to see what the artists are doing next. I am grateful for the endlessly interesting and diverse interpretations that emerge from the artists at Warlukurlangu.
I am grateful for the support Cecilia, Gloria and the team from Warlukurlangu give me. Their hard work, commitment, creativity and resourcefulness inspires me constantly.
Hearth Galleries receives so much support and encouragement from the Healesville and Yarra Valley community and beyond. The stories and delight our visitors express is utterly heartwarming.
There have been many tears of deep emotion; tears of connection, acknowledgment, realisation.
Its a privilege to be able to represent wonderful Aboriginal artists local to the Yarra Valley such as Kim Wandin, Nikki Browne, Deb Prout, Gail Choolburra, Merilyn Merm Duff and Graham Patterson. Hearth is passionately growing our capacity in this area.
I am grateful for my family and friends who have supported me every step of the way. It's been a busy exciting year and I wouldn't have achieved it without you.
In this past year and from the first pop up at Healesville Senior Cits Club in April, renovated, opened and launched Hearth Galleries with a beautiful exhibition One Sky: Art from the Desert, we've had two exhibitions at Olivigna Winery, an exhibition of Leila Boakes' incredible acrylic works on canvas, Inner Life Outer World, a pop-up at the Unitarian Peace Memorial Church in Melbourne for NAIDOC Week, a celebration of all things Emu in the exhibition Jankirri is Emu, the Retrospective of the Old Mechanics Institute Gallery Healesville and then we finished the year with Sam Gummer's extraordinary photographs Stories of Yuendumu and a celebration of all things desert dog.
Early in 2018 I worked at Worawa Aboriginal College in the Sandra Bardas Art Gallery and curated an exhibition for National Reconciliation Week at the CSIRO, working with the lovely Lisa Hodgson from Worawa.
We've just launched a magnificent exhibition of significant large works from Warlukurlangu Artists at DoubleTree by Hilton in Flinders Street Melbourne. It was a delight to be invited by Jacinta Young who I worked with at Warlukurlangu last year and now is the Marketing Manager at DoubleTree. Grab the chance and check it out, the work looks magnificent in the space.
Ten exhibitions for Hearth, (and my 11th in the year) that's almost one per month and the wealth of connections forged is well worth celebrating!
We hope you will join us for a great opportunity in February... We are on the cusp of launching our Thank you by Hearth Galleries exhibition which will run throughout February. This is a chance for us to show our gratitude to all of you with some significant price reductions and a great opportunity to purchase a beautiful piece of art!! Come and see where the blue dots have landed...
March is bringing an exceptionally exciting exhibition for Hearth Galleries, one that examines and challenges our perceptions of TIME...more brilliant works and dynamic discussion to come!!
I wholeheartedly welcome Scott to 'the Hearth' and know there will be some exciting things in store for all who gather at the Hearth in 2019.
In gratitude, Chris x
Hearth Galleries launches Warlukurlangu Artists at DoubleTree by Hilton, Flinders Street Melbourne
Thursday 17th January 2019.
Exhibition runs til 17/3/19.
I am very excitedly preparing for a new exhibition coming up in December...
Photographer and art therapist Sam Gummer will share her insight into life in Yuendumu through her exquisite photographs.
These extraordinary images offer a window into the remote Aboriginal community of Yuendumu, depicting the diverse stories of the Warlpiri people, from traditional to contemporary, sombre to celebratory, creative to sacred, ancient to modern day.
From ancient Dreamtime stories, skin names, sacred ceremonies, paintings and artefacts, to modern day clothes, music, art making and social media, the story of this community comes in the form of collective narratives woven over the tapestry of time.
Gummer's work will be presented alongside the art from Warlukurlangu Artists in Yuendumu, where she lives and works.
Gummer also works for Aussie Desert Dogs, an organisation funded by the art centre, that provides veterinary assistance, food, medical care and where needed, re-homing, for Yuendumu's dog population, and also a rescue response for injured and orphaned wildlife.
Coats for Winter Campaign: to celebrate all things 'camp dog' throughout december, Hearth Galleries are generating a campaign to raise funds for the dogs who are homeless and cared for by aussie desert dogs, there are about 60 or so at present. They need coats in the cold winter months especially during the freezing nights. the small ones find it particularly tough-going in winter. If you'd like to make a dog jacket, donate one or buy one for the dogs of yuendumu, please visit Hearth Galleries or give me a call on 0423 902 934.
Handpainted Dogs: a special part of this exhibition includes beautiful metal dogs, handpainted by the artists of Yuendumu. The metal dogs are made by inmates of the NT correctional facilities, then painted by Aboriginal artists in community. Each dog is vibrantly unique and based on the shape of a real dog that lives in Yuendumu, getting up to the usual fun and mischief around town! Limited number available. Contact us for more information or if you'd like to order one for Christmas.
More dog stories coming soon...and stay tuned for a sneak preview of Sam's extraordinary work.
Wednesday November 28th - Sunday 30th December
Launch event 2pm Saturday 1st December
Last weekend Hearth Galleries was launched with much excitement. Here are my thoughts on opening day...
'The hearth is a place to sit around a fire, a place of gathering, for stories and for celebrating shared culture. The hearth provides the flickering light of hope, collaboration and optimism.
Within the word ‘hearth’ lies other words, heart, earth and art. My hope is for a celebration of art that expresses love for the earth, whether we are artists, curators, art-lovers, collaborators.
This project would not have been possible without many of you here today. This project has been a collaboration from the start.
In the 80’s Mum ran a successful gallery just around the corner, literally four doors away, the Old Mechanic’s Institute Gallery. I lived upstairs in the attic room and it was an amazing time, I was in my 20’s, there was a constant series of exhibitions and openings, artist talks, art classes, life drawing classes, a busy tea-room (herstory, pre café-culture). There were school student exhibitions, local artists and a constant flow of visitors in and out. As Mum became more interested in doing research trips on Mechanics Institutes, I covered the gallery for her. I loved sharing an interest in art with others. Mum taught me so much about building relationships, the importance of communications and a professional business approach. Some of the many things she has taught me and shared with me.
Mum has been in this idea from the start. I’ve grown up in a home deeply passionate about our First Peoples, and about the environment. And I in turn have made a home with my son, deeply passionate about art, and the role of art to disturb, to comfort, to heal. Art in politics, art in societal change, art as a tool for celebration.
When I got to Yuendumu last year, and met the Warlukurlangu Artists and the managers, Cecilia and Gloria, and the rest of the art centre team, the idea of coming back to Healesville and starting up a gallery cemented. My deep gratitude is to these people in Yuendumu, here today in spirit and in support.
Coming home with this idea I received passionate support from friends, some supported the pop-up at the Senior Citizens Club, others sent constant messages of encouragement and moral support, from near and far. Even people I haven’t even met but know through facebook, including a lady, Dorothy, in the USA who ran a feminist bookshop for many years, sends constant messages of support!
I thank Lana and Gary for helping with renovations on the last day of their holidays. I thank Em and Lola for helping with catering today and for Em’s deep calm that always got me through intense days at the botanic gardens.
I thank Leila for searing intellectual debate and art lessons and I thank Ben for his wonderful canvas stretching.
When I returned I wanted to meet Dr Lois Peeler AM at Worawa, knowing she had a connection to Yuendumu and Nyirripi too, she having been there, met the artists, and also having hosted a visit by Cecilia the manager here in Healesville.
I thank Dr Lois, Lisa and the team at Worawa Aboriginal College for being an inspiring example of professionalism, hard work, passion, love and commitment.
Today I am thrilled to have some extraordinary work by the Worawa students, including one by Tianna who is from Yuendumu.
Heartfelt thanks go to my RBG sisters, lifelong friends, sacred rebels. There isn’t words enough to express my gratitude. You are here today some near some far, always by my side.
Thanks to the friendly support of the West-end business owners. We will make the West-end rock. I’ve felt welcomed back home by your friendly faces.
Last but not least I want to thank my family.
I thank my dear son Alvaro for a wonderful careful painting job and our shared passion in art, nature and culture. His amazing help at the pop-up carrying endless things back and forth.
I want to express my deep love gratitude and appreciation to Mum and her partner Rob. They have been into the idea from the start, immersed themselves in the three days of the weekend pop-up at the Senior Citizens, wrapping artworks, making tea, cooking meals, giving me a haven in transition. Rob who is new to the art scene is quickly becoming an aficionado! They have been up to the gallery every two days, helping with menial tasks, décor decisions and challenges, the fun and the hard slog, the creative decision-making processes.
They are both amazing and inspirational and the biggest truth is I could not have done it without them.
I hereby open hearth galleries with love, hope and gratitude. I hope you can join me in future exhibitions, indigenous, non-indigenous art, local and work from further afield, all speaking of the love and the stories of our shared earth
Today I am also opening this brilliant exhibition of work from the Warlukurlangu Artists.
More than a celebration of survival, more than a beautiful statement of colour and composition, this work gives us hope.
Ancient iconography and jukurrpa (dreaming stories) told in contemporary styles ranging from expressionism, pictorial, naïve, blended with traditional, always a new way of using dots. Drawing us deeply into the ancient stories of this land and its ecological processes.
I love the stories of plants like Desert fringe-rush Seed Dreaming, Lukurarra Jukurrpa, for example by artist, Serena Nakamarra Shannon.
I love the stories of animals like the Brushtailed Possum Dreaming, Janganpa Jukurrpa and the amazing variety of interpretation within each of the Jukurrpas.
I love the Karnta Jukurrpa or women’s dreaming stories like Valerie Napanangka Marshall’s iconic work.
I hereby launch Warlukurlangu Artists and hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you!
After a wonderful pop-up in the funky Senior Citizens Hall in Healesville, (see pics below) we decided to create an ongoing art-space in beautiful Healesville. We're calling it hearth galleries because it has the words 'heart', 'art' and 'earth' in the word, and a hearth is the place we, though the centuries, have sat down to share and tell stories, to learn and grow. It's been interesting to note that, as many people that do know the word, have not heard of it before! 'Hearth' must be an old word, perhaps even an old-fashioned one now! A loss of a word over one generation seems shocking; I grew into adulthood with the word, making fires and cleaning out fireplaces. I hope to bring a sense of hearth into this new art-space, I hope it will be a place of gathering on common ground, of conversation, of shared stories, the flickering light of learning and growth.
We'd love you to join us at hearth galleries for a sublime exhibition of work from Warlukurlangu Artists
2pm Saturday 12th May, 208 Maroondah Highway, Healesville.
Connect to country with a drive and walk up Blacks Spur, named after the route taken by Aboriginal people, making their way to their ochre collection sites. Check out the giant Mountains Ash Eucalyptus regnans and collect some fresh spring water from St Ronan's Well.
Hope to see you on 'the hearth'.
Last September, after years of dreaming, then finally with compulsion, and accompanied by Tommy the dog, I headed north. A picture tells a story and so instead of a wordy blog I have posted a picturey one. Suffice to say, reddy orange and purply reds are the new pallet painted across my heart. Not only is the centre rich with colour, its vibrancy is borne from the people and culture of the centre, the desert people - My gratitude to the staff, artists and volunteers at Warlukurlangu Art Centre in Yuendumu is deep and wide. Thank you for providing the turn in the road. Thank you to the many others who encouraged and supported me before I left, along the way, and then held their arms open wide when I returned. This journey has changed my life and the new story begins. Here and Now.
All photos copyright of Christine Joy, except Muffi waiting outside the shop in Yuendumu, photo credit Laura Roverso.
Header image: metal dog stencils, when base-painted with grey, leave a pattern on the art centre table. Buying these metal dogs supports Aussie Desert Dogs with medical procedures, rehoming, medications, desexing and vaccinations. Contact us if you would like to purchase a metal dog handpainted by the Warlukurlangu artists, and support the work of Aussie Desert Dogs.