‘Gumbaynggirr Dreaming’

Neeyan Smith with her son Stephen Wandarrga during ceremony to unveil artwork at library.It was both a joyful and respectful morning at Bellingen Library on Monday when a small group gathered to honour the unveiling of a truly inspired painting which is now hanging in the entrance to the Library.

The painting is the result of the collaboration of participants in the inaugural ‘Gumbaynggirr Dreaming’ course at this year’s Camp Creative.

Aunty Elaine Walker and Aunty Shaa Smith, an artist in her own rite, shared their relationship of Gumbaynggirr Country with the students. The week long process involved each person being given a place in this land, and a feeling of what it is to be in relationship with Country. As the week progressed people shared their experiences. The painting is just one expression of all that was experienced. Although painted by many individuals, the harmony flowed through the students such that the painting holds a sense of unity. As Aunty Elaine says “We are all one”.

“It belongs to this country and it expresses the connection between the ancestors, the people and the land and waters of this country,” says Aunty Shaa.

The painting has been proudly placed in the library, where it can be available to the whole community.

After Uncle Tom Kelly welcomed everyone there was Gumbaynggirr singing to celebrate the event and Neeyan Smith unveiled the painting with the help of her baby son Stephen Wandarrga Smith.

Morning Tea was catered for by Sue Tomkin and Rob Robertson, of the Bush Tucker Shack, a local indigenous business. We were able to experience the native flavours of lemon myrtle, quandong, illawarra plum, wattleseed and lilly pilly, to name a few.

On the plaque, offering words to explain the painting, there is written:

“Ancient fig tree stands

Harsh winds gusted cleansing air

Harmony returns”

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