Uniting the community through public art

Community life - 18 July 2017

Local Indigenous culture and the history of the Macleay will soon be represented through art in key locations with Kempsey Shire Council embarking on several public art projects with community groups and artists.

Council recently received an Aboriginal Arts Fund grant from Create NSW to install public artworks in Bellbrook and the Kempsey CBD for the Dhanggati Wiriiyn Yapang (Dunghutti Story Trail) project.

Currently being planned, the project will involve contributions from Richard Campbell, Esther Quinlan, Elwyn Toby and Caroline Bradshaw from the Ngabu Bingayi Language Group, emerging Dunghutti artists and local primary schools and preschools.

Some of the art to be produced will include sculptural work to be installed in Bellbrook called Wupu Manhatinum (Travelling Star), marking the western gateway into Dunghutti country, while young and emerging Dunghutti artists will decorate electricity boxes in the Kempsey CBD.

The project is a partnership with Kempsey Family Support Services who are providing support towards workshops with local primary schools and preschools.

Also in the planning is the Gateway Sculptures Project which will see two prominent sculptures situated in the roundabouts on the southern (Slim Dusty) and northern (Dunghutti) Pacific Highway interchanges.  

It is envisaged that the sculptures will reflect the history, landscape and community of the area while showcasing the Macleay River.

After calling for submissions from artists in April, two artists have since been shortlisted by a panel of community members and Council staff. The winning designs will be announced in September.

Council’s Community Projects Officer, Olivia Parker, said public art has the capacity to bring the community together through a shared cultural experience.

“It helps build a sense of place and connection with our environment and each other. Through these projects we can celebrate and promote the richness and diversity of the Macleay Valley’s stories and culture,” she said.  

People meeting in Bellbrook to discuss the public art projectRichard Campbell, Esther Quinlan, Elwyn Toby and Caroline Bradshaw from the Ngabu Bingayi Language Group, young artist Malcolm ‘Buster’ Dickson, Kempsey Family Support’s June Wilson and Narelle Moulton and Arthur Bain and Shane Moore from the Bellbrook Progress Association with Kempsey Shire Council’s Olivia Parker in Bellbrook to discuss the public art project