A new place of culture for the thriving Cumberland community, the Granville Centre Art Gallery will open in November with a vibrant curatorial program of contemporary art and the inaugural exhibition titled Ngaliya Diyam.
Co-curated by Dennis Golding and Rebekah Raymond, Ngaliya Diyam (We are Here in Darug language) celebrates strength and resilience through the art of local Darug artists and artists from other language groups and nations who call Darug nura home. The exhibition highlights stories of Country, and the many cultural identities and practices of Darug peoples.
“Ngaliya Diyam (We are Here) is an incredibly important exhibition to open the Granville Centre Art Gallery. First Nations, and in particular Darug nura, stories and culture are integral to the history of Granville and the wider Australia” said Talia Smith – Arts Programs Officer and Curatorial Support for the Granville Centre Art Gallery.
Ngaliya Diyam is comprised primarily of new works commissioned by the gallery for the exhibition by artists Aunty Esme Timbery, Aunty Marilyn Russell, Nadeena Dixon, Jannawi Dance Clan, Lucy Simpson, Shay Tobin and Kirra Weingarth. The exhibiting artists’ cultural practices and artistic expressions range from weaving, ceremonial and contemporary dance, photography, installation, drawing, painting and ceramics.
“This exhibition celebrates strength, truth and self-determination through beauty and the everlasting connection to Country. We are excited to share the diverse offering of the artists’ practices with the wider community.” said Co-curator Dennis Golding.
Darug nura stretches from the coast to the mountains, with the artists featured in Ngaliya Diyam living across these varied landscapes. Senior artist and Bidjigal Elder Esme Timbery lives on her Country in the community of La Perouse, and her celebrated practice uses sea shells collected from the coastlines of her Country.
In Ngaliya Diyam, she is joined by her daughter Aunty Marilyn Russell and their combined artworks showcase the intergenerational knowledge passed down between generations of Bidjigal women. Other works for Ngaliya Diyam include paintings by Shay Tobin, weavings from coconut fibre and twine by Nadeena Dixon, an installation by Lucy Simpson and indigenous lighting artifacts by Kirra Weingarth.
“By declaring Ngaliya Diyam; We are Here, the exhibition asserts the presence and resilience of Darug peoples and all Aboriginal language groups who now call Darug nura home,” said Co-curator Rebekah Raymond.
The exhibition began development in 2019 under the looming 250 year anniversary of Cook’s voyage to sovereign Indigenous lands. The exhibition is not a direct response to this anniversary as it is just one of many moments in time that sovereign lands and sovereign bodies have been invaded and invalidated by imperial forces. Ngaliya Diyam celebrates the unerring sovereignty of Darug peoples for Darug nura.
The use of Darug language as the exhibition title Ngaliya Diyam comes from the curators’ ongoing collaboration with the local community, in particular the working group formed from meetings with the Cumberland City Council Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Consultative Committee. The exhibition would not be possible without the collaborative relationship and support of the local Darug community.
“We’re thrilled to be opening the Granville Centre Art Gallery at the heart of a vibrant and thriving community in Granville and the wider Cumberland area. This new place of contemporary arts practice will engage and infuse local communities into everything we do,” said Michael Brown, Gallery Director.
“Opening the Granville Centre Art Gallery as a place of culture, we’re inspired to be doing so with Ngaliya Diyam, taking stock, and drawing inspiration from the cultural resilience and inclusiveness of Cumberland’s First Peoples.”
Ngaliya Diyam (We are Here)
Granville Centre Art Gallery, 1 Memorial Drive, Granville
Exhibition runs from 6 November 2020
For more information, visit: www.cumberland.nsw.gov.au for details.
Image: Aunty Esme Timbery, Untitled (Sydney Opera House), 2002. Polystyrene, wood, PVA glue, fabric and shell. From the collection of the Sydney Opera House Trust – photo by Sue Blackburn