Homecoming for Dowling’s Big Secret
Geraldton Regional Art Gallery was buzzing on Friday night for the opening of two exhibitions.
A new exhibition from Yamaji woman Julie Dowling was launched by her twin sister, Carol, and curator Charmaine Green, alongside an interactive exhibition, People Like Us.
Dowling’s exhibition, Yagu Gurlbarl (Big Secret), features portraits of her family and friends, surrounded by glitter, nail art and rhinestones. Her work explores the theme of slavery for First Nation people in Australia, highlighting the modern form in pieces such as Cousin Peter.
Yagu Gurlbarl is her first solo show on Yamaji country.
Carol Dowling said it was an honour to open the exhibition.
“These are stories of humour, resilience, strength, rage and courage,” she said. “We’re both proud Badimaya people. We lived in the city, but were brought up with stories of country.
“It’s very dear to us that this exhibition is on our country, Yamaji country. It’s a homecoming.”
Ms Green said she approached Dowling about an exhibition on country when they worked together in 2015.
“She had four months to produce the show you see,” Ms Green said. “The themes of slavery and stolen wages are things people don’t like to talk about.
“You really need to read the stories to see why it’s called Big Secret.”
In the upstairs gallery space an interactive exhibition using technologies such as virtual reality was also opened.
People Like Us, curated by University of New South Wales galleries director Felicity Fenner, explores issues impacting society through film, animation, digital and interactive art.
The exhibition features a diverse collection of installations from Australian and international artists.
People Like Us was commissioned by National Exhibitions Touring Support Australia and was officially opened by City of Greater Geraldton councillor Simon Keemink.
During the night, Member for Geraldton Ian Blayney announced the winner of the Mid West Art Prize People’s Choice Award, Yallingup artist Mia Laing, for her piece called Electric Blue.
Yagu Gurlbarl (Big Secret) and People Like Us will be on display until September 30.