Arilla Aboriginal Paper Corporation, Mount Isa, 2007/2008
A project, jointly funded by State, Federal and Local Governments, to work with a group of Abroiginal papermakers to develop their skills and help them to put together a body of work for a major exhibition. My role as project leader, exhibition curator, and participating artist was one of facilitating the exchange of competencies, ideas and cultures, as well as broadening the product base and seeking markets.
Travelling the Culture at Noosa Regional Gallery in 2008 was the culmination of a year spent travelling backwards and forwards across Queensland, from my own affluent, white, coastal community to work with a group of Aboriginal artist papermakers in the desert mining town of Mount Isa.
When I visited I also brought other artists to contribute to the 'conversation' and the exchange of ideas and skills.
Travelling the Culture
They were Elizabeth Cels, Elizabeth Poole, and Jo Anne Duggan. We were truly 'travelling the culture' across the wide open spaces that separate the coast from Mount Isa, and between the differences in our communities and our heritage.These artists also participated in the exhibition at Noosa, with their own interpretation of the the exchange.
The artworks from Mount Isa took on a new life as contemporary artworks under the lights in the 'white cube' of a coastal gallery. The women from Mount Isa flew to Noosa for the exhibition opening, travelling their own culture across the gulf that separates us.
We shared many things, stories, techniques, food, a campfire, heat, dust, rain, a common love of the land and place, and our collective abilities to make art.
Judy Barrass - Executive Residence
Arilla paper- Desert Form
A series of digital works responding to the landscape both in Mt Isa and as seen from a plane on the long journey across the desert was shown on-line and in the virtual world Second Life in 2008.
The images were created primarily with a graphics tablet and Photoshop manipulation. The various digital layers of each image are scripted to shift constantly and independently to mimic the visual messages one gets flying acoss the vast emptiness of the Australian landscape.(This effect is not evident in the slideshow shown here.)
Judy Barrass - I Cry 2007
My work for the exhibition focussed on my own cultural group, where identity and the idea of 'home' is firmly focused on 'house'. The Aboriginal idea is that identity and belonging are unalterably linked to land and place.
A series of small dwellings made from sticks and incorporating advertising material and real estate jargon emphasised the mobility of Australian populations, and the ephemeral nature of our sense of self and home.