Madang Gurrung Ngurra: June

Cara Macleod, MCA artist educator.

True to its name the Ngurra (camp/ gathering) of gurrung (kids/ young people) was madang (strong/ brave), with a dazzling array of artworks produced in response to the BNI site & artists projects. 

12 students from Nepean and Cranebrook High Schools had an amazing 3 days at Blacktown Arts Centre in June, working with MCA Artist Educators Rachael Ireland, Nadeena Dixon and me. They particularly valued the opportunity to work directly with the project artists and learn from the lived experience of such inspiring and respected artists. Special thanks to Leanne Tobin, Steven Russell and Kristine Stewart for all their generosity, creativity and hard work.  

Students enjoyed Leanne’s insightful and epic writing, drawing and storytelling workshop where they learnt a great deal about the history of the site and recorded their own visual and verbal responses. Look our for   the results coming soon on this site, in the schools section. After lunch we met Chris Tobin on site for a memorable smoking ceremony, welcome to country and further discussion.   

On day 2, we learnt to weave pendants and string with Steven and Kristine and later extended weaving into a fabulous celebration of colour, culture and country in a 2 metre long mixed media weaving led by Nadeena, to be installed at the site of the old Blacktown Native Institution, alongside the works of the project artists. The young participants from year 7-10 were not afraid to experiment and with encouragement went on to develop a strong, symbolic narrative in their collaborative work. 

Following the Camp, Year 11 Visual arts students from Plumpton High also came into visit the MCA and participate in the Exchange series, learning more about C3West and curating in conversation with Anne Loxley. You can watch the recording of the talk below.

So, all in all an incredibly successful program, made possible with the fantastic support from Paul and the wonderful Blacktown Arts Centre team, Graham from Panthers on the Prowl, Rachael, Nadeena, and the MCA project team – thank you all for your help!

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