Some of my lovely tolerant friends and family have asked that I include some photos of the BIG EVENT on this blog so I shall! Bear with us those who may not be so interested! It felt like a landmark night for me and was so enriched by the physical presence of some very special people who covered vast distances and the messages of love (including a magnificent bunch of flowers!) from other special people who could not physically be there!
Cathy, Darren, Ian and the rest of the gang at the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery (BHRAG) are magnificent people for many reasons. They did a fabulous job and took as much care with presenting the exhibition as I would. And then they added experience and knowledge. It’s a bit like when you take your kids to school and just hope that the people there can love them and see the magic in them in spite of all their little faults. You hope that they will know what to do to help bring out the best in them. Cathy, Darren and Ian did that with my stuff!
Obviously they could have felt very overwhelmed with all those bosoms. Shadows created by the bountifully endowed did create challenges with label placement. The variety of colours, varying bust shapes and idiosyncratic hanging methods, meant that the laser precision levelling was time consuming. Pragmatism meant we did used covered plinths for some more fragile or removable pieces and a strong desire by all of us to highlight the importance of my relationship with the Samunnat ladies guided placement of some pieces. There were just so many flipping labels to place and spell check’s reaction to Nepali nearly sent Cathy spare! So to you guys, a huge thank you for doing such a wonderful job. As always. The Art Gallery holds a special place in the hearts of locals and is very much a part of the community. I felt incredibly lucky to be able to have an exhibition there.
Seeing the pieces up in the room on Monday was great. Seeing that room filled by so many people was overwhelming. People were reading those carefully placed labels, talking with friends about pieces, laughing appropriately and….even spending! I had quite possibly the world’s best opening speaker deliver his speech and am so grateful to him. For everything. Not just the speech.
The NSW Parliament Aboriginal Art Prize was opened by Eddie Harris, a local Barkandji artist, from a talented artistic family, who is one of the finalists. As well as sharing of himself, Eddie did everyone the great favour of introducing us to his amazing niece Chiara who, at the age of only 8 (I think) sang beautifully and spoke with such poise, dignity and assurance that many, myself included, were tearing up!
A few people have asked whether there is a sense of emptiness or a let down having finished this. It’s funny because in a way there is more a sense that it is all part of the bigger process. Tory Hughes and I have our Deep Play retreat at Lake Mungo in just a few weeks (Spaces available. We’d love to see you there!) The Samunnat work continues unabated and I head back to Nepal in just over 6 weeks (and didn’t I get a shock calculating that since I was going to type just over 8 weeks!) Over the next few weeks we have many visitors coming out to say hi and see the show and I suspect I won’t really have time for a sense of emptiness. It feels like a landmark but one that is part of a rich journey, not my last shot at something!