Western Australian audiences are invited to visit and experience two new exhibits that opened today at the Gwoonwardu Mia – Gascoyne Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre.
The exhibits involve an audio-visual exhibit called Untouchable Stories of the Gascoyne and a a state-of-the-art touch table, which bring to life Gwoonwardu Ganyarra; the swirling waters of the Gascoyne. They were officially unveiled today at Gwoonwardu Mia in Carnarvon, by Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan.
Untouchable Stories of the Gascoyne is a unique audio-visual experience which enables visitors to listen to remarkable stories from Aboriginal Elders from each of the five language groups in the Gascoyne region. Five Elders were interviewed, and their stories recorded, creating the moving and thought-provoking exhibition, that focuses on their childhood memories of growing up in the region.
Gwoonwardu Mia recognises and celebrates the culture of the five Aboriginal language groups of the Gascoyne region of Western Australia: Yinggarda, Bayungu, Malgana, Thadgari and Thalanyji. This new exhibit pays homage to these five language groups and shines a light on an individual from each group.
The featured Elders, Gwen Peck, Betty Fletcher, Bella Randall, John Dale and Thomas Dodd, were all interviewed in 2021 by Gwoonwardu Mia curators Antionette Roe and Norma Lee, and their stories are now preserved within the new exhibit.
In addition to the audio-visual exhibit, a new interactive touch table was unveiled today, featuring the beautifully illustrated Dreamtime Story of the swirling waters of the Gascoyne, or Gwoonwardu Ganyarra.
The touch table tells the Aboriginal story of two sacred saltwater and freshwater snakes, Bubawari and Jingabirdi, and how their relationship impacted the land and waterways around the Gascoyne.
By utilising digital technology to bring these stories to life, Gwoonwardu Mia hopes to appeal to a younger audience, and to preserve precious memories for future generations.
As stated by Culture and Arts Minister David Templeman:
“This is a wonderful addition to Gwoonwardu Mia, giving visitors an in-depth understanding and unique opportunity to gain, first-hand, an insight into the culture and childhood memories of local Aboriginal Elders.
“There have been lots of changes taking place at Gwoonwardu Mia recently. In addition to these wonderful new exhibits, we are opening a new gallery space and landscaping the gardens, in preparation for the return of interstate and international guests.
“We can’t wait for visitors and locals to experience these great new exhibits and learn more about the region.”
As stated by Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“Gwoonwardu Mia is going from strength to strength since the McGowan Government reopened the facility in 2019.
“The launch of these new exhibits is a major milestone for Gwoonwardu Mia, which has established itself as a must-visit attraction along WA’s Coral Coast.
“We encourage Western Australians to explore these new permanent exhibitions on their next trip to Carnarvon.”
As stated by Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti:
“Western Australia’s Aboriginal art is admired worldwide and the new exhibits at the Gwoonwardu Mia show why that is the case.
“It is fitting that the exhibition launches during National Reconciliation Week, as through art, we learn new perspectives and stories. The artists involved should be extremely proud of the exhibition.”