107 PROJECTS: Blak Mirror

Help us KEEP CULTURE STRONG through the sharing of the stories offered by this incredible group of artists: emerging, early-career, senior, regional, local and interstate multidisciplinary practitioners gathered together to reflect their view of Australian society through a black lens.

The exhibition drives a gaze into the eyes of non-Aboriginal people and reflects some of the current realities of being Aboriginal today, holding a mirror up to Australian society with its residual histories, and their through-lines into contemporary experiences of Aboriginal People today.

Billy Cooley was born on a cattle station and spent much of his life as a stockman. He and his Pitjantjatjara wife, Lulu have always worked closely together raising their six children and making spectacular carvings on their homeland near Amata. They have been long-term directors of Maruku, working closely with management for decades. In recent years the couple have participated in many exhibitions and carving demonstrations at Uluru as well as regionally, nationally and overseas. Billy and Lulu now take great pride in passing on their skills not only to their children but grandchildren as well.

Lulu Cooley is minyma ulkumunu, a senior Aboriginal woman. She is a consummate carver of many years experience specialising in piti and wira, traditional bowls, as well as walka boards. Lulu remembers learning her carving skills from her mother and other female relatives in the 1960s. Long and close observation and practice has led to her beautiful, distinctive ‘scallop’ style. Lulu and her husband Billy Cooley, snake carver extraordinaire, have always worked closely together and have forged a life as partners and collaborators. Their knowledge and deep relationship with homeland special-country and its wood, is a living example of why it is crucial for the wider Australian community to appreciate how keeping culture strong happens most effectively through art and craft making on country; it is here that language stories and culture are passed down. This show is an invitation to honour their contributions as educators and artists representing Anangu people and that they and other Aboriginal artists and keepers of culture must be supported, unfortunately, it is so often overlooked.

Wira by Joanne Cooley

Billy and Lulu will be giving an artist talk with Q&A about desert art, their punu making practice and life on special country;  at 6pm on the opening night.

Featuring: Dean Cross, Nicole Monks, Chico Monks, Brad Harkin, Amala Groom, Teena McCarthy, Billy Cooley, Lulu Cooley, Aleshia Lonsdale and Adam Hill aka Blak Douglas.

Blak Mirror is curated by Jason Wing, a Sydney-based artist who strongly identifies with his Chinese and Aboriginal heritage. Wing began as a street artist and has since expanded his practice to incorporate photomedia, installation and painting. Influenced by his bi-cultural upbringing, Wing explores the ongoing challenges that impact his wider community. Calling into question our understanding of history and of our current socio-political reality, Wing repurposes everyday objects and imagery, creating works that are both visually confronting and deceptively simple.

Opening Wednesday 18th January | 6–8pm.

Exhibition continues until Sunday 29th January.

Gallery open Tuesday–Saturday 11am–7pm | Sunday 11am–6pm.