Dedicated gallery in Bendigo for First Nations creatives

As a significant commitment to reconciliation, the City of Greater Bendigo is delighted to announce plans to open a dedicated and permanent First Nations Gallery on Thursday November 24, 2022.

The new Gallery, Djaa Djuwima, which means to ‘Show, Share Country’, will become a permanent space at the Bendigo Visitor Centre on Pall Mall in the former Post Office Gallery space.

Major Cr Andrea Metcalf said Djaa Djuwima was aligned with significant actions in the Council Plan (Mir wimbul) 2021-2025, Barpangu, Reconciliation Plan and the Greater CREATIVE Bendigo Strategy.

“Djaa Djuwima is an exciting and important cultural step in reconciliation, to better understand, recognise and respect the living culture and creativity of our Traditional Custodians of the land.” Cr Metcalf said.

“A priority action in the Greater Creative Bendigo Strategy has been to establish a designated gallery space to address the underrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and their culture in Greater Bendigo.

“Djaa Djuwima is poised to become a beacon for contemporary and traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and makers who are living in or who are connected to the Greater Bendigo region.

“With three curated exhibitions presented each year, this will be a safe place for creative and cultural expression, to explore identity, heritage, connection and storytelling.

“It will also encourage new creative opportunities, new networks and professional development and that’s exciting.

“There have been calls from our local First Nations creative community for a gallery space for many years and the Bendigo Visitor Centre receives regular enquiries from residents and visitors to the region who are keen to buy or support cultural works from First Nations creatives.

“I have no doubt that this will be a significant cultural destination for Greater Bendigo residents and visitors.”

The dedicated space will be repurposed and curated by Bendigo Venues and Events First Nations Arts Officer Janet Bromley.

Janet Bromley has set up Wartaka, a creative group which aims to promote and nurture Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and creativity in the community. This group has played an advisory role in the Djaa Djuwima’s artistic development.

Wartaka member Aunty Lyn Warren has warmly welcomed the new Gallery and what it means for First Nations creatives.

“The Gallery will showcase First Nations culture, art and storytelling and reinforce the significant contributions we can bring to the broader community,” Aunty Lyn said.

“Through different works produced from artefacts, paintings to weaving, this new gallery will strengthen the voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, customs and stories that will deepen and enrich our region’s cultural experiences and create better understanding.”

First Nations creatives are invited to submit an expression of interest (EOI) for the first exhibition which will open on Thursday November 24 and run until February 2023.

As part of the EOI, applicants are asked to respond to the theme Gutangarr Dja Dja Wurrung Djayi (which means ‘you are on/in Dja Dja Wurrung Country’) by October 17. Entries can include painting, weaving, making, woodwork and artefacts, two or three-dimensional works. There are size limitations for works displayed in the gallery and that should be a consideration when submitting an EOI.

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