Works donated to the gallery

The Shepparton Art Gallery has received two new artworks that will be on display as part of the Indigenous Ceramic Art Award exhibition.

Gloria Fletcher Thanakupi’s three terracotta platters titled Trunding Creek, Fishermen and Negwar the Bandicoot have been generously gifted to the gallery by The Sir Andrew and Lady Fairley Foundation, founding sponsors of the award.

Shepparton Art Gallery Director Kirsten Paisley said Gloria Fletcher Thanakupi is acknowledged as one of Australia’s leading ceramicists.

“In the works Gloria Fletcher Thanakupi used bauxite mined in areas surrounding Weipa, to express an intricate relationship with the land on Cape York, its creatures and waters, “ Ms Paisley said.

“I am still designing for the story places on Thaynakwith land, my land that is Andoom, Bauchat, Albatross Bay- land and rivers, and wells and animals we have and who they were for each tribe, “ Gloria Fletcher Thanakupi said.

“After mining, the red slurry spreads in big wet patches and then in the sun it cracks in patterns across the surface – I see the cracked bauxite lift up in patterns like these pots or platters- cracked earth, broken stories or journeys I call them sometimes. But the stories are always there in my land, on top and underneath Thaynakwith land. And that will never be forgotten.”

Canberra based artist Danie Mellor has also gifted his major work, In dreams the hearts of ranges 2007.

Ms Paisley said this work engages with Indigenous and western perspectives of culture and history, and examines the way in which they interact.

“This art centres on the rainforest area around Cairns, which is Danie Mellor’s family’s home and holds spiritual and cultural significance for him,” Ms Paisley said.

Danie Mellor explained that the work In dreams the hearts of ranges touches on and includes reference to the importance of Aboriginal identity and national (Australian) identity. 

“The display of shields and boomerangs references a number of things; museological displays, new materials and processes that speak of country. Mapping is used to delineate actual journeys and walks I have experienced in the Atherton Tablelands area, from which my Mother’s family are descended.  The shields echo the shape and size of traditional rainforest shields, and are cast from reclaimed steel shipping trunks, symbolising place, journeys, travelling, displacement… one’s heart recalls.  The boomerangs are big… the boomerang looms large in our consciousness.  It is one of the most unique and important tools and survival depended on its skilful use.  It is also a highly commodified object – exported, transported, translated and interpreted. In Dreams the Hearts of Ranges encompasses these things, and lays out a new map – a map of the imagination, of land and culture.”

The Indigenous Ceramic Art Award exhibition will be open until Sunday 24 February.

For more information contact the Shepparton Art Gallery on (03) 5832 9861.


– Released 6 February