Madang Gurrung Ngurra: March

Cara Macleod, MCA Artist Educator.

Local secondary students and staff from Chifley College, Senior Campus, and Plumpton High School were invited to take part in a 3 day intensive art camp called Madang Gurrung Ngurra from 9-11 March, in the lead up to the Blacktown Native Institution Artist Camp #2. Students worked closely with the artists Leanne Tobin, Kristine Stewart and Steven Russell to learn about their art practices and develop artworks together. The program took place at Blacktown Arts Centre and Museum of Contemporary Art and the strong collaborative artworks created will be displayed on-site during Artist Camp #2.

The program began with a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony on the site of the historic Blacktown Native Institution. The importance of the site was shared by local elders, artists and curators, and the students responded thoughtfully to this moving and insightful experience. The importance of storytelling and cultural understanding was reinforced through discussions with the artists and community members, which flowed into and connected with the art making activities.

On Day 1, participants learned new techniques in painting and weaving, created experimental and collaborative artworks and explored language and text in their artworks. Traditional forms of weaving with locally harvested grasses were developed on Day 2, and later combined into a multilayered and colourful response to the site- suggesting camps joined by paths and people coming together. A number of students recorded these experiences on camera, providing another rich resource for future artworks. A highlight of the final day was visiting the MCA galleries and discovering the diverse art forms and practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists in the MCA Collection.

Images L-R: Students document their weaving at the MCA, Students pin works to MCA walls, Collaborative artworks in progress. 

Congratulations to the young people who made Madang Gurrung Ngurra Student Art Camp such a glowing success –  and many thanks to everyone involved in planning and presenting the program.


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