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A primary objective of the project was to capture and summarise the rich culture, both current and historical, of the Garby Elders. While Fact Sheets were to be the main outcome, artworks depicting different aspects of life and culture were considered to be an ideal starting point. The importance of this commission is reflected by the fact that Uncle Tony Perkins and Libby Sterling (then Manager for the Solitary Islands Marine Park) spent many hours considering what should be included. As a result, the brief for the artist was complex and included requests for a huge variety of content. The fact that Alison Williams was able to accommodate all requests into her series of artworks is a testament to her artistic ability and understanding of the culture and spirituality of the Garby Elders.

The Artist: Alison Williams

Alison is a Gumbaynngirr woman who has had a love of painting and drawing from a young age.

Her works were exhibited in ‘Seven Spirits’ which toured through Canada in 2007 and have also been exhibited extensively throughout NSW including at: Parliament House, Sydney; Campbelltown Art Centre; Western Plains Cultural Centre; Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery; the Grafton Regional Gallery; Southern Cross University; Gloucester Gallery; and Lismore City Hall.

In 2007 three of her pieces were selected for the NSW Parliament Indigenous Art Prize, and she won the inaugural Clarence Valley Indigenous Art Award. In 2008 Alison was awarded the NSW Indigenous Art Fellowship from the Ministry for the Arts and Sydney City Council allowing her to exhibit and work in Canada and the USA.

“I am accustomed to thinking in images as a result of practising visual arts for over 20 years. My awake or conscious state can often meld into a dream-like state which translates onto a canvas or into clay as an illustration of thoughts or story. As an Indigenous artist, there is also my ‘dreaming’ - being conscious of the life force entwining mother earth and mankind, which is passed down to me through story and ceremony.

My art is like a soulful journey ... an old familiar rhythm or dream. I aim to create artwork that reflects, like a mirror, identity and spirit and reaches beyond cultural boundaries to raise awareness of truth and existence.”

Alison worked closely with Garby Elders and the project committee to develop the content of the 'wish list' into the stunning series of artworks shown here.

Alison’s work can be viewed on her website at www.indigenousinteriors.com.au

Calling Stories
Meeting Place Stories: Traditional
Meeting Place Stories: Contemporary
Calendar Plants with Key
Artist Alison Williams

Using the Artworks in the Fact Sheets: Graphic Design

The blending of artwork and photography in the panels at the bottom of each Fact Sheet was intended to symbolically represent the dominant concerns of the project: the meeting between indigenous and non-indigenous members of the community, and between art and science, both equally valid ways of recording information. So as not to value the scientific over the traditional, or to imply that traditional practices have been replaced with those of science in the name of ‘progress’, Kathryn also chose to give more emphasis to the artwork, and to position the photos on the right hand side of each panel rather than the left.

The logo was partly inspired by Alison’s paintings of the Meeting Place Stories. The dots represent the journeys in and out of the ‘meeting place’: Arrawarra. The dots also form waves, reflecting the coastal environment and focus of the project. The green and the blue were chosen not only to symbolise the coast and the turban shell, but also because these colours feature heavily in the artworks. The spiral design in the main section of the logo was based on the operculum of the turban shell.

Gumbaynggir Nation
Arrawarra Headland
Fish Traps
Traditional Fishing
Other Food from the Sea
Hunting and Cooking
Arrawarra Midden
Bush Calendar
Useful Plants Trees
Useful Plants Fruit
Useful Plants Leaves
Scientific Monitoring
Gumbaynggirr Language
Gatherings and Ceremonies
Oral Histories