Artists Chosen for Design Project

First Nations arts practitioners Frances Belle Parker, Uncle Joe Walker and Deborah Taylor have been selected as the artists that will collaboratively create a design for Clarence Valley Council that reflects the rich Yaegl, Bundjalung and Gumbaynggirr cultural heritage of the Clarence.

Frances Belle Parker, Deborah Taylor and Uncle Joe Walker innovatively fuse traditional and contemporary arts and culture in their practice and will participate in this unique cultural exchange as representatives from each of the Nations.

Ashley Lindsay, General Manager Clarence Valley Council said “We’re not an Aboriginal organisation but we’re keen to continually strengthen connections with our First Nations people. This is just one of the avenues we are working on at Clarence Valley Council in building our relationships with our First Nations communities”.

Mr Lindsay said, “Once the project is completed, Clarence Valley Council will have a valuable tool which is respectful of the Yaegl, Bundjalung and Gumbaynggirr people and will help us to amplify their stories.”

“The rich cultural fabric and layered histories of Yaegl, Bundjalung and Gumbaynggirr will provide the framework for the design. We feel privileged that we are able to work with these exceptional artists and for the opportunity for the exchange of ideas that will lead to the culmination of this new work.”

The artists have had early discussions around what the design theme might be and are now reflecting on this in preparation for the next stage in this collaborative work.

About the artists

Frances Belle Parker is a proud Yaegl woman, painter, drawer, printmaker and installation artist from Maclean. An accomplished artist, Frances completed a BFA through UNSW, and a BVA (Honours) and a Masters of Indigenous Studies (Wellbeing) both through Southern Cross University. Frances is deeply inspired by her Mother’s land (Yaegl land) and the Island in the Clarence River that her Mother grew up on, Ulgundahi Island. Frances work depicts the Yaegl landscape and those stories, which were shared with her, and passed down through her Elders. Frances believes it is her responsibility to document these stories and to map their landscape, providing a valuable resource for her children and the entire younger Yaegl mob. Frances most recent work titled ‘Angwirri’ was included in ‘Badu Gili’ a 7 minute projection on the Sydney Opera House iconic sails before sunrise on January 26, 2021.

Uncle Joe Walker is a proud Wahlabul Man of the Bundjalung Nation born in Tabulam NSW. Culture is very important to Jo and his love of painting comes from this. In 2020 Joe designed the Rabbitoh’s Football Club Indigenous Jersey to represent the Indigenous heritage of its players.

Deborah Taylor resides in South Grafton and is a proud member of both the Gumbaynggirr and Bundjalung Nations. Deborah has always had an interest in art and devoted more time to it after leaving her role of 13 years for the NSW Government. As an artist, Deborah is heavily influenced by her Aboriginal heritage; local legends, stories and family history are the focus of her work. Other inspirations are the life force and changing climate and colours of her environment including the ocean, rainforest, bush, urban landscape and particularly the Clarence River. Deborah curated ‘Birrinba Connections’ at Grafton Regional Gallery in response to the John William Lindt portraits of Aboriginal people photographed in the 1870s in Grafton. And in 2017 curated ‘Contemporary Identity’, an expression of vision for contemporary Indigenous Peoples from the Clarence Valley.

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