Women’s strength brought to the fore in travelling exhibition

ART AND SOUL: Tamworth Regional Gallery education officer Kate Armstrong admires an emu textile artwork at the Strong women strong painting strong culture exhibition. Photo: Gareth Gardner 220714GGD01

ART AND SOUL: Tamworth Regional Gallery education officer Kate Armstrong admires an emu textile artwork at the Strong women strong painting strong culture exhibition. Photo: Gareth Gardner 220714GGD01

The bold colours and subtle strength of Aboriginal artwork prompted two local curators to collect works by Aboriginal women, and their collection is now on exhibit at the Tamworth Regional Gallery. 

Based near Scone, Deborah Sims and her husband Matt Dickson first started collecting artwork from the central and western deserts of Australia after viewing a colourful exhibition in Newcastle six years ago. 

“It was a real revelation,” Ms Sims said. “How could we live to be adults and not be connected to this amazing Aboriginal art?”

They pieced together the Strong women strong painting strong culture exhibition to celebrate the strength of Aboriginal women in grassroots art communities for the 2011 centenary of International Women’s Day, and it has been on tour since then. 

The gallery has seen almost 1500 people through its doors to experience the energy of the paintings and textiles. 

“These paintings are the painting of a soul, or the songlines,” Ms Sims said. 

She said the women were often in their 80s before they started painting, having spent a lifetime living and learning about the Tjukurpa, the Dreaming.

This weekend, the gallery is co-ordinating a cultural bus tour with community member Len Waters to visit significant Kamilaroi sites, in conjunction with the exhibition. 

Strong women strong painting strong culture runs until August 9.

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