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New England Regional Art Museum | 'Myall Creek and Beyond' Exhibition will Commemorate 180th Anniversary of Massacre

Image: Smoking ceremony, Myall Creek Massacre Memorial event, June 2017. Photo by Robert Heather.
 
 
The New England Regional Art Museum (NERAM) is developing a major new exhibition that will open on Friday 8 June 2018 in Armidale as part of a four-day long program to commemorate the 180th anniversary of the Myall Creek Massacre in 1838.
 
The NERAM exhibition Myall Creek and beyond will feature new artworks by leading Aboriginal Australian contemporary artists Robert Andrew, Fiona Foley, Laurie Nielsen and Judy Watson and is being curated by leading Indigenous curator Bianca Beetson. These artworks were developed through an artist-in-residence program at the memorial site and within local communities in 2017 and 2018.
 
“The annual memorial event organised by the National Committee of the Friends of Myall Creek Memorial over the June Long Weekend has become a major event with hundreds of people making the pilgrimage to the site each year from around Australia to pay their respects to the people massacred and to make an act of reconciliation,” said Robert Heather, Art Museum Director. “We invite people to come to take part in these activities across the region and to consider and acknowledge the terrible toll of Australia’s Frontier Wars.”
 
“NERAM has been working with the local community across the New England region to develop awareness of the memorial event and its national significance as a site of remembrance and reconciliation.”
 
“We welcome the art museum’s exhibition in promoting our event” said Rev Ivan Roberts, Co-Chair of the National Committee of the Friends of Myall Creek Memorial. “Our committee is encouraged by local initiatives committed to truth telling in history and we believe our nation’s pathway into the future passes through our past.”
 
“NERAM’s initiative reminds us of the contribution artistic expression can make in addressing issues of national significance.“
 
The exhibition will also include a new video work by David Leha (Radical Son) and Quarralia Knox developed through a series of community workshops with young people across the New England region in April 2018.
 
The exhibition Myall Creek and Beyond will be on display at the New England Regional Art Museum from Friday 8 June until Sunday 14 October 2018 and will be supported by an illustrated catalogue featuring essays by Guest Curator Bianca Beetson and other writers.
 

Myall Creek Memorial 180th Anniversary Program

The four-day program of activities (7-10 June 2018) planned for the 180th anniversary will include:

  • a historical exhibition at the Armidale and Region Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place about the history of the Myall Creek Memorial;

  • a one-day symposium at the Oorala Aboriginal Centre at the University of New England exploring the historical, legal and cultural significance of the massacre;
  • the opening of the contemporary art exhibition Myall Creek and beyond and an exhibition by Inverell based artist Colin Isaacs at NERAM in Armidale;
  • the 180th anniversary memorial event at the Myall Creek Memorial near the site of the massacre (near Bingara).

 
The Myall Creek and beyond symposium at the Oorala Aboriginal Centre at the University of New England on Friday 8 June 2018 will include a keynote lecture by leading indigenous historian Bruce Pascoe as well as sessions exploring the national significance of the massacre from historical, legal and cultural perspectives.
 
Symposium presenters will include Lyndall Ryan from the University of Newcastle; Jane Lydon from University of Western Australia; Peter White from Sydney Living Museums; barrister and author Mark Tedeschi; legal historian Cameron Moore from University of New England; Tasmanian contemporary artist Julie Gough; Yugembeh Museum CEO Rory O’Connor and Dr Fabri Blacklock from UNSW. Speakers will provide a range of perspectives on these events.
 
The Symposium will also include the official launch of the new book Remembering the Myall Creek Massacre (NewSouth Publishing 2018) featuring a number of essays edited by Jane Lyon and Lyndall Ryan. The book will be launched by Aunty Sue Blacklock.
 
The exhibition at the New England Regional Art Museum will be officially opened by Keith Munro, Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art and a member of the National Committee of the Friends of Myall Creek Memorial. The opening will feature a performance by David Leha (Radical Son) and Quarralia Knox as well as artworks by leading Aboriginal contemporary artists Robert Andrew, Fiona Foley, Laurie Nielsen and Judy Watson and other artists. The exhibition explores their responses to the Myall Creek site, the memorial event and the history of the massacre as well as its relevance to present day Indigenous people.
 
The New England Regional Art Museum will be organising a bus from Armidale to the memorial event near Bingara on the morning of Sunday 10 June for artists, symposium attendees and members of the local community. The Oorala Aboriginal Centre will also be organising a free bus for students and staff from the University of New England to attend. Other regional communities, cultural groups and organisations are encouraged to organise transport for community members, schools, students, elders and others who want to participate in this historic event.
 

Long Weekend Program

6.00pm Thursday 7 June 2018
Myall Creek Memorial historical exhibition opening (all welcome – no bookings required)
Armidale and region Aboriginal Cultural Centre & Keeping Place
128 Kentucky St, Armidale
www.acckp.com.au
 
9.00am – 5.00pm Friday 8 June 2018
Myall Creek and beyond symposium (bookings required)
Oorala Aboriginal Centre
University of New England
www.neram.com.au/learn-2/myall-creek-and-beyond-symposium/
www.une.edu.au/info-for/indigenous-matters/oorala
 
6.00pm Friday 8 June 2018
Myall Creek and beyond exhibition opening (all welcome – no bookings required)
New England Regional Art Museum
106-114 Kentucky St, Armidale
www.neram.com.au
 
11.00am – 12.30pm Saturday 9 June 2018
Myall Creek and beyond – artist talks (all welcome – no bookings required)
New England Regional Art Museum
106-114 Kentucky St, Armidale
www.neram.com.au
 
9.00am – 12.30pm Sunday 10 June 2018
180th Anniversary Memorial event (all welcome – no bookings required)
Myall Creek Massacre Memorial
Delungra Rd, Bingara
www.myallcreek.org
 

About Myall Creek and beyond

On the afternoon of Sunday 10 June 1838 a group of eleven convicts and ex-convict stockmen led by a squatter, brutally slaughtered a group of twenty-eight Aboriginal men, women and children who were camped peacefully at the station of Myall Creek in the New England region. Although there were many other massacres of indigenous people that occurred during the Frontier Wars across Australia, this one had special significance because it was the only time when white men were, arrested, charged and hung for the massacre of Aboriginal people, following a police investigation.
 
On 10th June 2000 the Myall Creek Massacre Memorial was unveiled as a unique reconciliation memorial. The site was added to the Commonwealth Government’s National Heritage Register in 2008. Every June, the National Committee of the Friends of Myall Creek Memorial organise a Commemoration Service at the Myall Creek Memorial Hall and the Myall Creek Massacre Memorial site which attracts visitors from around Australia for a solemn event based upon acknowledging our joint history.
 
The exhibition Myall Creek and beyond at the New England Regional Art Museum in Armidale (8 June – 14 October 2018) will bring together leading indigenous contemporary curator Bianca Beetson and the artists Judy Watson, Fiona Foley, Laurie Nilsen and Robert Andrew to work with the local community and artists to research and create new works which will explore the issues and complexities of this historic event and its aftermath. Amongst the key objectives of the project are to create broader community awareness and dialogue of the true history of the New England region’s settlement and to encourage people to become informed and involved as participants and supporters of the annual Myall Creek annual Commemoration.
 
The Myall Creek and beyond symposium at the Oorala Aboriginal Centre at the University of New England in Armidale (Friday 8 June 2018) will bring together a series of leading speakers and researchers who work in history, law, cultural studies, visual arts, performing arts, peace studies, education and other fields. Participants will explore the historical, legal and cultural significance of the Myall Creek Massacre and the subsequent prosecution of the murderers. They will also examine the way the contemporary memorial event has become a local, national and international symbol for reconciliation between communities.
 
The 180th Anniversary Memorial Event at the Myall Creek Memorial site near Bingara (Sunday 10 June 2018) will be the key event of this four-day program of events and activities. This commemorative event will include a procession from the Memorial Hall to the Memorial, a school’s activity, speeches and a ceremony on the site. Organised by the National Committee of the Friends of Myall Creek Memorial this is nationally significant event that attracts hundreds of people from around Australia.
 
The exhibition Myall Creek and beyond is a partnership between the New England Regional Art Museum and the Friends of Myall Creek Memorial and has been supported by Regional Arts NSW through the Regional Arts Fund, the new South Wales Government through Create NSW and the Australian Government Department of Communications and the Arts Indigenous Language and Arts Program.
 
Further information is available on the NERAM website at www.neram.com.au/myall-creek-and-beyond/
 

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