Myall Creek and beyond will remember the lives lost in the tragic event

MEMORY: Artist Judy Watson and guest curator Bianca Beetson at NERAM during the installation of the Myall Creek and beyond exhibit.
MEMORY: Artist Judy Watson and guest curator Bianca Beetson at NERAM during the installation of the Myall Creek and beyond exhibit.

AFTER nearly two years of work, the Myall Creek and beyond exhibition will officially open on Friday.

The exhibition will feature new artworks by leading Aboriginal Australian contemporary artists including Robert Andrew, Fiona Foley, Laurie Nielsen and Judy Watson and is being curated by leading Indigenous curator Bianca Beetson.

Ms Beetson said the exhibit was part of a large movement in recognising the massacres significance in Australian history. 

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“It’s really amazing to actually be here. It has been 18 months in the making,” she said. “There’s been lots of Aboriginal massacres around Australia but this one was the most important because it was the first time non-Aboriginal people were found guilty of murder in regards to killing Aboriginal people.

“So the idea was to bring in internationally renowned artists to use their influence and regard to help draw to attention the great thing that they [Friends of Myall Creek] are trying to do.”

The major new exhibition will launch on Friday as part of a four-day long program to commemorate the 180th anniversary of the Myall Creek Massacre in 1838.

“We are now at the installation stage of the Myall Creek and beyond exhibition. There are  so many different things happening here at the gallery,” Ms Beetson said. 

“The next few days will very interesting. Each work needs a lot of attention. It’s very exciting.”

These artworks were developed through an artist-in-residence program at the memorial site and within local communities in 2017 and 2018.

The symposium held at the University of New England’s Oorala Aboriginal Centre and kick off the four-day program.

It will include a keynote lecture by leading indigenous historian Bruce Pascoe as well as sessions exploring the national significance of the massacre from historical, legal and cultural perspectives.

“The message to the community is about how we can remember, respond and respect this history,” Ms Beetson said. 

“It must be acknowledged in a sensitive and gentle way, and not forgotten.”

The artists will discuss their work in the new exhibition on Saturday from 11am. No bookings required. 

The exhibition will be on display at the New England Regional Art Museum from Friday, June 8 until Sunday, October 14.