Ngunnawal Elder Aunty Ruth Bell delivered a warm Welcome to Country at the opening of First Light and reminded everyone that they should behave themselves while on Ngunnawal land. Fortunately we managed quite well – unwise to argue with Aunty Ruth ! First Light is Liz McNiven’s first show in the role of visual arts curator and she has taken to it like a duck to water. Its a great idea for starters with work that reflects the different ways Aboriginal artists have worked with light – film, photography, glass, mirrors and installation lit from with in (yes that’d be Jonathan Jones). The gallery has an ethereal glow and looks great ! Nice opening too with visitors from Karungkarni Print Centre Wave Hill NT, South Coast and Adelaide. After the welcome a few of the artists read poems, some of which, had the audience on the verge of tears. Sad stories but some lighter moments too.
First Light, was conceived as part of a special program for the Canberra Centenary. Curator Liz McNiven is a Barnba woman from the Budjiti nation of Paroo river country in north-west NSW and south-west Queensland. Formerly a curator at the National Film and Sound archive Liz is also a highly regarded artist and writer. There’s nothing she can’t do ! The artists included in this exhibition include Brenda Croft (Gurindji/Malngin/Mudpurra peoples), Kerry Reed Gilbert (Wiradjuri), Lyndy Delian (Wathaurong), Gary Lee (Larrakia), Jenni Kemarre Martiniello (Southern Arrernte, Kemarre skin), Jonathan Jones (Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi), Tjanara Jali Talbot (Wiradjuri/Bundjulang), Rachel Perkins (Arrernte) and James Tylor who is currently based in Adelaide. At CCAS Gorman House Galleries until 10 August.