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Bunarm Bologaman Wahl Bundjalung Exhibition

This month, at the A & I Hall in Bangalow, the Bunarm Bologaman Wahl Bundjalung exhibition was on show, with the support of Arts Northern Rivers. Featuring the art of 12 male Bunjalung artists from the Northern Rivers, it was a showcase of a variety of works which prominently feature the ancient markings of the traditional Bunjalung culture. Over 70 pieces of art were displayed,  by artists who are all respected teachers and mentors in their culture and artistic practice. Each piece has been created to offer a unique perspective on the artists’ djugun (country).

One of the participating artists, Luke Close, describes the significance of the project, as being a spiritual link to the Dreaming. ‘Artifacts, Bundjalung Nation markings and motifs awaken dormant memories in all Bundjalung and indigenous alike,’ he says. ‘We are connected to an amazing Dreaming, although we have lost a lot of this knowledge, I believe we are connected through our DNA and artifacts, markings and motifs opens a vision door for some artists.’

Arts Northern Rivers, CEO, Peter Wood said ‘This exhibition, originally developed by ACE College in Lismore, is an important opportunity for the Northern Rivers community and visitors to experience a wide variety of works by Bundjalung artists in our region. It sits within our broader Bundjalung Project, which has been funded by the Federal Government’s Indigenous Visual Arts Support Program’.

The project focuses on the significance of traditional mark-making practices and explores how these practices can influence our approach to developing contemporary images. ‘Designs can be universal, artefacts show us our history and for some it let’s them feel a bit too,’ said artist, Jai Walker.

The artists gathered regularly over a period of a year, to share feedback on each others work. This added to the sense of camaraderie amongst the group. ‘We all come from different locations of the Bundjalung Nation, but our works compliment and interact with each other,’ Luke Close observed.

‘It showcases the magnificent artworks being produced of the Northern Rivers from it’s Indigenous Brothers. It is also a reflection of the continuation of recording and passing on cultural information through Art,’ he said.



Noel Charlie Caldwell

Noel Kenneth Caldwell, known to most people as Charlie, was born in Casino in 1973 and is a member of the Bundjalung nation. His mother is Githibal and his father’s family is from up Tabulam. He has been painting for 20 years. He has won the prestigious Bentley prize for the last two years running.

Luke Close

Luke was born in1962 in far North Queensland, Githabul from his fathers line Waka Waka through his mothers line. Moved to Bundjaung in 1995 to honour his father’s family connection. A fine artist living, working and learning in the Bundjalung country, he studied fine arts at Deakin University and has painted continuously.

Eric Ferguson

Eric Ferguson is an Aboriginal artist from Cabbage Tree Island in Northern NSW. Eric has been drawing for as long as he can remember and in high school would copy techniques of the old masters, drawing is his way of relaxing. When Eric was 19 his father introduced him to Aboriginal art techniques and has not stopped painting since.

Anthony (Tule) Gordon

Anthony (Tule) is a traditional song man from the Baygal nation also known as Bundjalung. His work is inspired by nuthung garra (ancestors) and the higher spiritual source known as nuthung ngali and the butheram (creation times). His sculptures are unique to this area made from ocean driftwood and Australian timbers.

Burri Jerome

Burri is an artist of outstanding talent. For this exhibition he has painted, in oils, the mountains and rock formations from Norrah point (Central Coast) Hat Head to Bunya mountains Mount Lindsay, Bulls Head Mountain Woodenbong, The Nimbin Rocks and Lillian Rock in the Nimbin area. All these landscapes are rich in history and stories, which Burri shares through his art.

Sean Kay

Arakwal Bundjalung artist Sean Kay has spent many years painting and drawing about his Country around Byron Bay. Listening to his Elders Sean would hear stories how his ancestors have grown up in the Byron Bay area and the many sites importance. The stories from Sean’s Elders have given him the impetus and inspiration to share with the community part of his, his family and ancestors stores of the importance of the Country that is now Byron Bay.

Gilbert Laurie

Gilbert was born in Lismore in 1963 and belongs to the Yaegal and Widjubal tribes of the Bundjalung nation. In the mid 1980s brothers, Gilbert and Oral Roberts set up an artists’ studio at The Chocolate Factory in Lismore where they worked for many years. Gilbert’s work has appeared in group-exhibitions and was the winner of the People’s Choice Awards for the 2005 and 2006 National Parks and Wildlife Indigenous Art Award. Gilbert is a musician and a dancer with the Bundjalung Custodians and teaches art.

Digby Moran

Albert (Digby) Moran is a Bundjalung artist who was born in 1948 in Ballina and grew up on Cabbage Tree Island in the Richmond River near Wardell. His father was Dungutti and his mother Bundjalung. Digby started painting later in life (having worked previously as a harvester and a professional boxer) and, apart from a TAFE course in 1991, is self-taught as an artist. Digby paints prolifically, and his work speaks from the heart and soul and is imbued with memories and stories from his childhood.

Oral Roberts

Oral was born on the Cubawee Mission in Lismore and lived there for the first 2 years of his life. Oral’s work reflects his close connection to the Bundjalung land and culture. His paintings express this strong connection to Spirit and the bush scrub where many of the bird species and animals he paints are native.

Ray Roberts

Ray was born in Lismore in 1968 and grew up down at the beach and in the bush, this connection to land and the old people inform his work. Ray is a Joongal artist and has been painting for twenty-years, he works with a combination of mediums to express this connection.

Jai Walker  

Jai Darby Walker was born in Casino in 1980. He began working at Jambama Artists Gallery in 2007. His style is very unique. He draws and paints the old people, haunting images of the ancestors who formed the Bundjalung culture, whose images stay with you long after you have seen their faces.

Lewis Walker

Born in Tabulam in 1968, Lewis is a custodian for the area. His work is reflective of the country between the rocky outcrops to the east coast ocean. Lewis represents the Elders in song and the dances of their country. He performs at ceremonies and funerals whenever he is asked. He is a protector of the youth and sees his role as a care-taker for the elders and youth alike and passes on the culture so important to him.