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Weapons for the Soldier to open

Kunmanara (Mumu Mike) Williams, Kunmanara (Willy Muntjantji) Martin and Sammy Dodd Kulila! (Listen!) 2018. Ink and acrylic marker pen on canvas and mailbag, with kulata (spear) made from punu (wood), malu pulyku (kangaroo tendon) and kiti (natural plant-based resin). 216 x 230 cm Courtesy of the artists and Mimili Maku Arts.6 November 2019

A new exhibition featuring some of Australia’s most important Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists will open at the Bega Valley Regional Gallery (BVRG) on 15 November.

Weapons for the Soldier brings together 41 important artists who have made new work to examine complex and varied responses to weaponry, warfare, and their connection to protecting land and country. 

Twenty-seven of the artists are from the art centres of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunyjatjara (APY) Lands of central Australia, while the 14 invited artists are some of Australia’s most important Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists (including Ben Quilty, George Gittoes, Shaun Gladwell, Alex Seton, Jonathan Jones and Danie Mellor). 

Weapons for the Anangu Soldier is a subject that senior APY artist Ray Ken has explored in his paintings throughout his career. With his permission and encouragement, along with the support of other senior men who often paint weapons and stories of conflict, the young Indigenous artists have explored what it means to be a soldier today and to fight to protect your land and culture.

BVRG Director, Iain Dawson, said fighting for Country and a deep connection to Country are recurrent themes that are explored throughout the exhibition, evocative of both the broader tenets of the ANZAC legacy and the distinct position of Indigenous people within Australia.

“The exhibition and these vitally important themes have resonated with audiences across Australia and we are very much looking forward to dialogue being fostered here in the Bega Valley,” Mr Dawson said.

“Those attending the exhibition will experience works that promote conversations around multi-geographical and multigenerational fights for land, Country and freedom experienced by Australians, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, as well as the Indigenous experience in Australian military history.”

Weapons for the Soldier will be officially opened at 6pm on Friday, 15 November at will run through until 8 February 2020.

For more information on the exhibition and the gallery programs visit https://gallery.begavalley.nsw.gov.au 

Photograph: Kunmanara (Mumu Mike) Williams, Kunmanara (Willy Muntjantji) Martin and Sammy Dodd Kulila! (Listen!) 2018. Ink and acrylic marker pen on canvas and mailbag, with kulata (spear) made from punu (wood), malu pulyku (kangaroo tendon) and kiti (natural plant-based resin). 216 x 230 cm

Courtesy of the artists and Mimili Maku Arts

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