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Artist-in-residence program


Mullingarri Meddhung

Indigenous Artists in Residence

Mullingarri Meddhung is an exciting artists-in-residence program running in conjunction with Encounters. Join prominent Indigenous artists as they share their works and stories. Immerse yourself in rich culture and artistic traditions, meet the artists, learn from them and take the opportunity to purchase their works directly.

Each artist will take up residence in the Main Hall or Museum Shop from 10am to 2pm on the Thursdays and Fridays below. This is your chance to meet the artists and watch as they create a masterpiece during their live artist demonstration.

On the Saturdays below, come and enjoy an extraordinary experience in hosted hands-on workshops. Workshop bookings are essential, and costs apply.

Kylie Caldwell

Thursday 3 and Friday 4 March 2016 – in residence

Join Bundjalung woman Kylie Caldwell as she shares her works and stories.

10am – 2pm
Main Hall or Museum Shop

Kylie Caldwell
Designer Kylie Caldwell with the garments she created for the inaugural Australian Indigenous Fashion Week held in Sydney in 2014. Photo: Curator Benita Tunks, National Museum of Australia.

Saturday 5 March 2016 – Weave Couture workshop

Designed to inspire your thinking and imagination.

This workshop explores Bundjalung weaving traditions and fibre preparation to provide you with the knowledge you will need to create your own contemporary woven accessories such as earrings, necklace and headpieces.

11am – 2.00pm
Cost: Adult $50, concessions $45, Friends $40 (includes weaving materials)
Garden of Australian Dreams, National Museum of Australia
Bookings are essential, via the Eventbrite website
Please note booking fees apply.

About Kylie Caldwell

Basket weaving is an important cultural practice, which I have been learning for the past 3 years. I am an emerging fibre and textile artist who wants to grow in my own skills and the skills and knowledge of others.

In 2013, a partnership was established with Casino Wake Up Time Group and Casino High School. Every second Tuesday we provided weaving lessons to Aboriginal students from Casino High. In 2014, we ran a successful weaving and fashion exhibition to showcase the students’ and Casino Wake Up Time Group’s woven artefacts. More than150 community members attended the Exhibition.

I have been working closely with Casino Wake Up Time Group in providing students the opportunity to learn and practise a cultural practice that has laid dormant for many decades. The traditional knowledge and skills learnt enhances not only students’ lives and their communities but also the broader community.

The students have made bangles using a traditional Bundjalung weaving method. These bangles were worn in a collection I produced by Casino Wake Up Time Group at the first Australian Indigenous Fashion Week held at the Sydney Town Hall in April 2014.

I was filmed as part of the Encounters project. The National Museum of Australia purchased a silk dress I made for their Encounters exhibition. I have also produced a local weaving resource for students to utilise.

Working with Casino Wake Up Group has taught me traditional weaving skills and knowledge. I have been able to pass this knowledge on through my current work, however I would like to further enhance my weaving skills and knowledge and continue to grow weaving in the Northern Rivers Area.

Jody-Ann Agnew

Thursday 10, Friday 11 March 2016 – in residence

Please note: Due to circumstances beyond the Museum's control, this program has been cancelled.

Saturday 12 March 2016 – Gorgeous Gunditjmara workshop

Please note: Due to circumstances beyond the Museum's control, this program has been cancelled.

Past programs

Lola and Rex Greeno

Thursday 10 and Friday 11 December 2015 – in residence

Lola and Rex Greeno, from the Tasmanian Aboriginal communities of Cape Barren and Flinders islands, shared their works and stories.

Saturday 12 December 2015 – Jewels from the Sea: Shell bracelet-making workshop

This workshop on creating a traditional Tasmanian maireener shell bracelet gave unique access to Lola and her husband Rex Greeno, and the skills and traditions of shell processing. Shell jewellery is a traditional art form passed down through generations of Tasmanian Aboriginal women. It represents identity, creativity and survival.

Lola Greeno

An acclaimed artist, Lola Greeno is a Tasmanian Aboriginal woman who combines the energy and improvisation of a contemporary arts practice with a tradition dating back thousands of years. Lola is one of a handful of women carrying on traditional practices of shell necklace making passed down from mother to daughter. Her distinctly patterned, often colourful and iridescent, delicate strings of shells are collected during seasonal tides from the coastlines of the Tasmanian mainland and the surrounding islands and, over several months, painstakingly prepared for stringing. Lola also incorporates shells and other natural materials with woven fibre works or as parts of installations.

Born on Cape Barren Island in 1946, Lola Greeno is the first Australian Indigenous visual artist to be recognised as a National Living Treasure – Master of Australian Craft (2013). Her exhibition, Lola Greeno: Cultural Jewels, was an initiative of Object: Australian Design Centre. It features more than 50 works crafting stories of cultural knowledge, natural beauty, ancient traditions, connectedness with her family home and artistic responses to environmental issues. The exhibition, which includes works by her mother, Valerie MacSween, daughter, Vanessa, and husband, Rex, opened in Launceston in 2014 and is touring throughout Australia before returning to Tasmania in 2018.

Moving from Prickly Bottom on Cape Barren Island to Flinders Island, then to Launceston on the mainland in 1972, Lola completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Tasmania in 1997 and, in 2000, was appointed Arts Tasmania’s first Aboriginal Arts Officer, retiring in 2013. In addition to her artistic practice, Lola continues to work closely with the Aboriginal community and schools promoting and sharing cultural knowledge and the traditions of making shell necklaces with young Aboriginal girls across Tasmania.

Her work is represented in numerous public collections, including: the National Gallery of Australia; the National Museum of Australia; Powerhouse Museum, Sydney; Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston; Queensland Art Gallery; Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; and Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart.

Tasmanian marineer shell bracelet designed and created by Lola Greeno. Photo: John Leeming, Queen Victoria Museum , Tasmania.

Rex Greeno

Rex Greeno
Rex Greeno with his paperbark canoe. Photo: George Serras.

Rex Greeno was born on Flinders Island in Bass Strait in 1942, moving to Launceston on Tasmania’s mainland with his wife Lola and children Dean and Vanessa in 1972. His Aboriginal heritage comes from his mother, Dulcie Greeno, a noted shell necklace maker, and his grandfather, Silas Mansell, who taught him mutton-birding, kangaroo and wallaby snaring, and how to make craypots and boats. Some of his earliest memories of his family life on the Furneaux Islands in Tasmania were of his grandfather introducing him to community cultural life and the important elements of cray and scale fishing.

Following in his father’s footsteps, Rex became a professional fisherman and was at sea around Tasmania’s coastline and Victoria for 40 years, retiring in 2008.

Inspired by the sea and his cultural heritage, Rex began researching early Tasmanian Aboriginal watercraft and similar watercraft in other cultural contexts and started to build traditional Tasmanian paperbark canoes. These canoes had not been seen in Tasmania since the early 19th century and he experimented with collecting and processing various raw materials and ways of constructing the canoes for a revival of this important Tasmanian Aboriginal craft practice.

His first full-scale paperbark canoe was made in 2008 and acquired by Museum Victoria. His second large canoe was selected for the 27th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award in Darwin (2010) and is now held in the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory's collection. A third canoe was made for the National Gallery of Australia and his fourth and largest canoe commissioned by the National Museum of Australia in 2012.

Embracing his position as an Elder mentor, Rex shares his culture with Aboriginal youths through workshops in schools and cultural camps, teaching young boys the craft of making canoes. He is teaching his son so that his grandson Harrison can learn from his father.

Paul Bong

Thursday 18 and Friday 19 February 2016 – in residence

Paul Bong, esteemed artist from North Queensland and Yidinji man, shared his works and stories.

Saturday 20 February 2016 – Ink and Press: print press workshop

Paul Bong told his engaging stories through ink and press. This workshop was an introduction to printing processes and how to incorporate traditional designs while using modern art techniques in the creation of etchings and screen prints.

Paul Bong
Paul Bong hand colouring his etching My Flag. Photo: George Serras.

About Paul Bong

Paul Bong’s given tribal name is Bindur Bullin, after a great warrior. He is a descendant of the Yidinji tribe who occupied the fertile rainforest lands from Cairns in the north to Babinda in the south and west into the Atherton Tablelands as far as Kairi.

His ancestral history is rooted in this region. Paul’s great-grandparents were both tribal elders when all the lands were Yidinji. Says Paul:

My father, George, also knew the traditional ways of living. He spoke the Yidinji language, though he wasn’t allowed to speak it when he went to school. He was forced to reject the traditional ways and to assimilate to the white society. This broke the continuity of our culture, language and heritage that have been passed down through many generations.

It has been up to Paul to research his cultural background and rediscover his heritage. Paul:

My grandmother, who spoke Yidinji, taught me stories and legends about the rainforest – its bush food, animals, young warriors and special places such as Babinda Boulders and the Gordonvale Pyramid. These stories are the inspiration to a lot of my work.

Paul incorporates into his art traditional designs with modern techniques. Each design has a spiritual meaning. Traditionally every design had a different meaning associated with totems or inspired by legends.

Ronnie Jordan
Ronnie Jordan with Kalkadoon weavings. Photo: Ronnie Jordan, Culture on the Move.

Ronnie Jordan

Saturday 27 February 2016 – Traditional Doll making workshop

Ronnie Jordan, a central Queensland Kalkadoon woman, taught the processes involved in traditional doll making. Using both traditional and modern materials, Ronnie taught workshop participants weaving skills to create a Kalkadoon-inspired doll or animal.

About Ronnie Jordan

Ronnie Jordan is a descendent of the Kalkadoon People of the Mount Isa region in Queensland. She is immensely passionate about her Aboriginal heritage and has taught her culture to a wide range of people from children to the elderly, Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

Ronnie is self-employed, running her own business ‘Culture on the move’ where she shares her knowledge in running a variety of workshops that include traditional coil weaving (taught by Aunty Jenny Dries), traditional games, animal and doll making (inspired by Tjanpi Desert Weavers) and enjoys sharing her knowledge of bush tucker plants.

Ronnie delivers these workshops to schools, community and government and non-government organisations.

Ronnie is passionate about sharing Aboriginal culture with other people. Her goal is to share as much knowledge as she can so it can continue through her children and other Aboriginal youth to reclaim her cultural heritage and ensure its survival.