Monday, January 23, 2012

significant exhibitions of Aboriginal art in Sydney

Koori Art ’84 
Artspace, Wollomolloo
With a curatorial essay by Bobbi Sykes Koori art 84 was a ground breaking exhibition that opened many people’s eyes to the aesthetic value of Aboriginal art.  The artists in this show did not exclusively paint on behalf of the communities that they lived in and in many cases the artists in this exhibition had been excluded from the commercial gallery system that was selling aboriginal art at the time because their art did not fit the stereotypical expectations of what Aboriginal art should be (according to non Indigenous curators who often had vested interest in commercial galleries). 
Participating artists
Euphemia Bostock, Fiona Foley, Fernanda Martins, Arone Raymond Meeks, Avril Quaill, Michael Riley, Jeffrey Samuels, Gordon Syron, and Banduk Marika. 

1986 (precursor to Boomalli): 

NADOC ’86 Exhibition of Aboriginal and Islander Photographers (curated by Ace Bourke) exclusively profiled Indigenous photographers and became the launching pad for a high-art Indigenous photography movement.  This exhibition included 60 photographs by Mervyn Bishop, Brenda Croft, Tony Davis, Ellen José, Darren Kemp, Tracey Moffatt, Michael Riley, Christopher Robinson, Terry Shewring, and Ros Sultan.  Brenda Croft, Tracey Moffatt, and Michael Riley were three photographers who would go on to be the founders of Boomalli.  This was the first contemporary art exhibition of work exclusively by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander photographers, and it was held as part of the week-long NADOC celebrations.  The exhibition was initiated by Tracey Moffatt, following an invitation by curator Ace Bourke.  It was held at the Aboriginal Artists Gallery in Clarence Street, Sydney.  In some materials, this show is called the Contemporary Aboriginal and Islander Photographers’ Exhibition. 
  -also in 1986, an exhibition held at the Workshop Arts Centre in Willoughby (Sydney) called Urban Koories: Two Exhibitions of Urban Aboriginal Art brought together Euphemia Bostock, Fiona Foley, Arone Raymond Meeks, and Jeffrey Samuels.  
November 1987-May 1992: Boomalli is located at 18 Meagher Street, Chippendale.  Chippendale location was chosen for its proximity to Redfern, with its large Indigenous population, so it could provide community-access gallery space.  The premises were a converted sewing factory above an Asian wedding outfitters in Chippendale’s industrial area. 

Boomalli was incorporated.  Tracey Moffatt left and Sheryl Connors joined.  Fiona was picked up by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery (age 24) (stayed with Roslyn Oxley until 2005).  Boomalli perceived this Bicentennial year as an opportunity to present art, culture, and politics as integrally linked. 
-Michael Riley’s film Boomalli: Five Koorie Artists was commissioned by Film Australia and captured the dynamic energy of the cooperative’s early years; it featured Bronwyn Bancroft, Fiona Foley, Arone Raymond Meeks, Tracey Moffatt, and Jeffrey Samuels, and used footage from the launch of Boomalli au-go-go.
              -Bronwyn: the film aimed to get a voice not only of the artist, but the contemporary Aboriginal artist.  Explores Aboriginal identity and how the artists express this in their artistic practice/works.   
-De Facto Apartheid (August-September) presented the recent work of Boomalli members at the Performance Space in Redfern
-Kempsey Koori Artists (18 October-6 November) was held at Boomalli, featuring artists all from the rural town of Kempsey in northern NSW.  Initiated by Robert Campbell Jr (Ngaku), including his work as well as that of Milton Budge (Ngaku), Raymond Button, Mary Duroux, David Fernando (Gamilaroi), and Sharon Smith (Gumayngirr-Banjalang).
-ANCAA and Boomalli: Artworks Produced and Managed by Aboriginal People (ANCAA was the Association of Northern and Central Australian Aboriginal Artists, now known as the Association of Northern, Kimberley and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists, or more commonly, ANKAA).  This show featured Koori-Yolngu dialogue as vital to the development of a strong Aboriginal art movement in the present and into the future, and included the works of Boomalli artists Bronwyn Bancroft, Euphemia Bostock, Fiona Foley, Pam Johnston, Fernanda Martins, Arone Raymond Meeks, Avril Quaill, Sheryl Parnell, Michael Riley, and Jeffrey Samuels. 
              -from Bronwyn: this was a really politically-charged opening, by John Newfong
              -from Phemie: these two shows—Kempsey and ANCAA and Boomalli—were two very important shows early on.  When we were hanging the ANCAA and Boomalli show, we just put paintings up that complemented each other, and it turned out that ANCAA-Boomalli-ANCAA-Boomalli alternated all the way around the room—quite uncanny

Members of Boomalli include: Shane Bailey, Bronwyn Bancroft, Euphemia Bostock, Tracey Bostock, Brenda Croft, Fiona Foley, Danielle Gorogo, Fernanda Martins, Raymond Meeks, Sheryl Parnell (Connors), Rochelle Patten, Frances Peters, Avril Quaill, Michael Riley, and Jeffrey Samuels
-Inside Black Australia (January 20-February 12) was a photographic exhibition by 11 Indigenous artists (premiered at Albert Hall in Canberra in May and then) was shown at Boomalli (to coincide with Invasion Day) before commencing a national and international tour.  This exhibition was organized by Kevin Gilbert in 1988 and was exhibited at the Tin Sheds (or at Boomalli in Meagher St?).  It explored Aboriginal views of Australia and included works by Brenda Croft, Kathy Fisher, Kevin Gilbert, Alana Harris.
-Gomileroi – Moree Mob (February 22-March 12) was an exhibition by 13 artists of Gomileroi country.  The talents of 13 people—painters, carvers, dancers, and didgeridoo players—were showcased, including Boomalli member Michael Riley.  Pam Johnston did the design and layout of the exhibition catalogue.  Together, the Kempsey and Moree shows were very important as they were the first to showcase regional NSW artists.
-Selections 76-89 (May 6-29) was a solo exhibition of Jeffrey Samuels’ work, held at Boomalli to raise funds for Samuels’ trip to Europe.
-40,000 + 4 (May-June) was a photographic show that opened at Bondi Pavilion with works from 4 Boomalli artists. 
-A Koori Perspective (June), curated by Boomalli member Avril Quaill, was hosted by Artspace (Surry Hills) to coincide with the mainstream Perspecta show at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and redress the imbalance of Perspecta including only 2 Aboriginal artists
-in June, Fernanda Martins and Jeffrey Samuels ran a printmaking workshop to teach Koori artists new skills ran at Boomalli
-Aboriginal Women’s Show (September 21-October 25) was a selection of mixed media by Aboriginal women from all over the country, including established artists such as Euphemia Bostock, Bronwyn Bancroft, Pam Johnston, and Sheryl Parnell, as well as Tracey Bostock, Daneille Gorogo, Leeanne Hunter, and carvings and paintings from the Arnyingini Congress of Northern Australia.  This show was curated by Bronwyn Bancroft, and opened by Euphemia Bostock
-also in October, Boomalli hosted the book launch of Aboriginality, a publication of Aboriginal painting and prints
-in November, Boomalli hosted a showing of works from Melbourne Aboriginal artists Ellen Karen Casey, Ellen Jose, Donna Leslie, and Gayle Maddigan.   
-Boomalli Breaking Boundaries (December) was a year-end show curated by Sheryl Parnell (Connors).

-Eurobla was a Boomalli exhibition hosted by the Tin Sheds (University of Sydney)—a group exhibition of Boomalli artists in conjunction with the reconstruction of a carved tree from Warren, NSW, which had been severely damaged by a lightning strike. 

Early 1990s:
-through Boomalli, Fiona Foley initiated a curator traineeship with the Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney).  She was a trainee curator from 1991.
-Boomalli faced a series of closures due to severe cutbacks in funding, but resurrected itself with funding from the Australia Council, the NSW Ministry for the Arts, and the Department of Employment, Educaton, and Training.
-in this period, Boomalli grew from a studio-based gallery and local resource centre into an internationally-recognized arts organization.  People from a wide range of backgrounds were represented: young artists, artists in custody, gay and lesbian artists, Torres Strait Islander artists, Indigenous artists from overseas, and artists of color.

1990-1996: Brenda Croft was the General Manager at Boomalli
              -Bronwyn: note that this was a big change—from a consensus-based group of 10 artists to having a paid staff-member running the place, paid to oversee the operations of the artist-members and the collective.  Brenda secured some funding and became the first Manager at Boomalli, the first person to be paid to run the organization, and it created a bit of a conundrum: cooperative vs. professional management overseeing operations     

-On the Line (April 23-May 19) was the first group show of new members at Boomalli, and it inaugurated the exhibition program for 1990.  Featured were Tracy Bostock, Deborah Breckenridge, Gavvy Duncan, Janice Gardiner, Joe Hurst, Keva James, Rochelle Patten, and Susan Vaughn

-Lineage Landscape was a Boomalli exhibition showcasing the work of Bronwyn Bancroft and “promising newcomer” Tracey Bostock.  Bancroft’s work in this exhibition was a series of collages in homage to her father; photographs of her relatives showed how she had traced her own identity.  The works were veiled with a net, a reference to mourning for her father

-a two week exhibition of Central Australian paintings began September 17

-From the Centre to the Sea (November) was an exhibition that featured paintings from a community near Alice Springs and brought to Sydney for the show

-Ian Abdulla (Ngarrindjeri) & Harry Wedge (Wiradjuri) (October 1991) was an exhibition curated by Fiona Foley, pairing two great, distinctive narrative painters living in rural communities (in SA and NSW, respectively).  Abdulla’s work reflected memories of his early, itinerant life in the Riverland and Murray River region of SA

-Kudjeris (meaning “women” in Northern Australia) (November 13-December 4, 1991) was an exhibition held at Boomalli, curated by Fiona Foley, and featuring the work of Destiny Deacon, Lisa Bellear, and Brenda Croft.  Deacon’s work “blak lik mi” coined “blak” here in an effort of reclamation and affirmation of identity.  Together, the work of these three artists highlighted the diversity of contemporary photographic practice.  Hetti Perkins wrote the text for the poster/catalogue. 

-these two exhibitions, curated by Fiona Foley in 1991, were positively formative in launching a high profile for Boomalli.  Fiona also curated the end of year show in 1991.   

-the Aboriginal Women’s Exhibition was a collaborative effort in 1991, between Boomalli and the Art Gallery of NSW as part of a Sydney festival called “Dissonance, Feminism and the Arts”   

1992-1995: Boomalli was under the shared leadership of Brenda Croft and Hetti Perkins.  Hetti Perkins was exhibitions coordinator and curator for these three years (while Brenda Croft was Manager), managing an extensive exhibition and events calendar, with in-house, touring, regional, national, and international projects operating simultaneously

May 1992-June 1993: Boomalli maintained an administrative office in the Performance Space (Redfern) and leased occasional gallery space there, but had no permanent home again until mid-1993. 

-In January, looks like Boomalli is going to close.  At the end of 1991, the Aboriginal Arts Unit of the Australia Council refused Boomalli’s application for funding; said they needed a 5-year plan, including an upgrade of premises, computers, administrative systems, put on better shows in a better space.  Boomalli appealed OzCo’s decision, won, and were offered half of the funding they applied for.  Boomalli then decided to close.  An article ran in the Sydney Morning Herald on January 7, 1992, and Boomalli got many offers of help.  The   Aboriginal Arts Unit, led by Lin Onus, called a meeting with Boomalli and sorted things out.  Lin Onus goes on the record saying ATSIC should play a role in funding Boomalli. 

-Hetti Perkins becomes curator at Boomalli in 1992, invited by Brenda Croft.  Brenda has said that Hetti arrived with a vision, and took Boomalli from “smell-of-an-oily-rag community arts centre to putting it on the map with international touring exhibitions”; she changed the whole look of the place, from designing letterhead and business cards to finding the group a really good venue (the Abercrombie Street, Chippendale premises; was a much nicer place, not a warehouse like Meagher Street) 

-artist r e a became a member of Boomalli after talking with Hetti Perkins and Brenda Croft about her new series “Look Who’s Calling the Kettle Black.”  r e a credits Boomalli for launching her career: “my career wouldn’t be at the level it is if I didn’t connect with Boomalli because the shows in the early days were not about categorizing anyone.  They were all about opening up all of the artists as they stood within their practice to a national movement as well as an international movement...” (Half Light catalogue, p107). 

-Recent Works by Euphemia and Tracey Bostock (August 5-30) was an exhibition of paintings, textiles, and sculpture, presented by Boomalli Aboriginal Artists’ Cooperative (listed in this catalogue as being located at 199 Cleveland Street, Redfern), and held at Craftspace (88 George Street, The Rocks, Sydney).  This exhibition sought to applaud the achievement of a decade of exhibiting by Euphemia and recognize the rise of Tracey’s work in the art world; collectively, their works emphasize matrilineality and the significance of female relationships to their lives and the art world more broadly.    

June 1993-1997: Boomalli premises were at 27 Abercrombie Street, Chippendale (just off Broadway), from June 1993 to late 1997 (or early 1998?)

1993-1994: International Year of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, a high point in Boomalli’s operations.  The events calendar was full to capacity for the whole two years, including: 1) relocation to new premises that included a gallery, artists’ studio, slide and publications library, and archive; 2) the securing of funds for four full-time staff; 3) the organization of 14 in-house exhibitions, 9 exhibitions at other venues, 2 international exhibitions, and several international residencies; 4) the hosting of international exchanges; 5) the production of several publications; and 6) the hosting of forums and events both at Boomalli’s premises and elsewhere. 

-membership really began to change in 1993, as this was the year Bronwyn Bancroft, Euphemia Bostock, and Fiona Foley all resigned (Tracey had gone by 1988; Avril left for Canberra in 1992).  Jeffrey Samuels and Michael Riley remained involved.  Elaine Russell, Harry Wedge joined Boomalli. 

-Wiyana/Perisferia (Periphery) (January 7-31) was an exhibition with a catalogue, held by Boomalli Aboriginal Artists’ Cooperative at The Performance Space in Sydney.  Curated by Hetti Perkins and Liliana E. Correa, this exhibition consisted of 9 installations by Aboriginal and Latin American artists articulating the ongoing discontent of colonized peoples.  It was a satellite event of the 1992-1993 9th Biennale of Sydney.  Featured Boomalli artists were: Bronwyn Bancroft, Brenda Croft, Fiona Foley, Judy Watson, and Harry Wedge.   

-Boomalli hosted H.J. Wedge’s major solo exhibition Wiradjuri Spirit Man that instigated a monograph on the artist’s work (exhibition was first at Tandanya in 1992, and then went to Boomalli in 1993).  The monograph was published in 1996 by Boomalli and Australia Books with the support of the Australia Council.  Wiradjuri Spirit Man was the first exhibition to launch the new Boomalli premises at Abercrombie Street, opening June 18, 1993.

-Boomalli’s exhibitions coordinator, Hetti Perkins, is now also working one day a week as curator of Aboriginal Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.  Perkins was also the Aboriginal Curator for the 1993 Australian Perspecta (originally intended to be a biennial overview of what is new in Australian art, Perspecta soon became a local knee-jerk response to the internationally-oriented Biennale of Sydney.  In 1997, Australian Perspecta reinvents itself as a city-wide festival of contemporary art)

-Sayin’ something: Aboriginal Art in New South Wales (August 5-September 10) celebrated 10 years of land rights in New South Wales, and included works of Shirley Amos, Euphemia Bostock, Tracey Bostock, Treahna Hamm, r e a, Elaine Russell, and H.J. Wedge.  The exhibition was co-sponsored by Boomalli and the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (Sydney).

-Boomalli artists Brenda Croft, Fiona Foley, Joe Hurst, Judy Watson, and H.J. Wedge participate in the 25th Budapest Autumn Festival in September (curated by guest curator Emil Novak).  The artists travelled with the exhibition Australian Dreamtime and spent 3 weeks in Hungary.

-Postcards from the Bay: Aboriginal Artists from Long Bay (September 30-October 30) was an exhibition held at Boomalli—the first in what was to become an annual event organized by Boomalli in association with a different gaol each year.  This effort was made in response to community interested and requests from artists themselves—who are isolated from opportunities available to those not in custody—and will testify to the endurance of Indigenous creative spirit through the art of the prisoners of an undeclared war. 

-Announced November 1, 1993: Sydney is set to get an Aboriginal Performing Arts Centre.  The NSW government allocated $1.5million towards it and was to provide the site—at Walsh Bay, bond store no. 3 (until this time, the secondary site to the Art Gallery of NSW of the Sydney Biennale, in Windmill Street)—expecting the tenants to match that $1.5million for a $3million centre to include exhibition and performance space for contemporary Aboriginal arts, as well as house conference and seminar spaces, workshops, studios, a coffee shop, and informational facilities for local and international visitors.  The tenants were looking to ATSIC, the Department of Tourism, and other sources to raise the balance of the money.  Five organizations and their representatives—Rob Bryant (director of Aboriginal Arts Management Association); Michael McMahon, Kevin Cook, and Jack Beetson (Blackbooks in Glebe); Rachel Perkins, Adam Perkins, and Michael Riley (Blackfella Films); and Jody Chester (acting coordinator of Boomalli); and Bangarra—hope to take possession of the new space in January 1995.  Boomalli and Bangarra been lobbying government since 1991 for shared space. 

-Been Gone Is (opened November 20) is an exhibition at Boomalli including the work of 5 urban Aboriginal artists (one of whom was H.J. Wedge) linked by their commitment to painting as an important form of political expression. 

-December 3-23: work in all media by more than 50 Aboriginal artists from all regions of Australia was showing at Boomalli (Chippendale) and the Performance Space (Redfern)

-sometime in 1993, the Aratjara exhibition was mounted by German curator Bernard Luthi—in Dusseldorf and London (at the Hayward Gallery)

1994-1995: Daphne Wallace, then-curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the Art Gallery of NSW, commissioned and purchased several major works from Boomalli in the lead up to the Art Gallery’s Yiribana Gallery, including works by r e a, Elaine Russell, and Brenda Croft. 

-in January, it is reported in the press that the future of a proposed Aboriginal Cultural Centre is unclear because of a wrangle of the lease between Aboriginal groups and the NSW state government.  The Cultural Centre Executive Committee representing the five groups supposed to move there is now claiming that the government has reneged on its promise of a 99-year lease, only offering a 7-year lease.  Secretary of the Committee, Brenda Croft, said a 7-year lease would not be viable because it offers no security for the groups involved, most of whom depend on ATSIC for funding, and ATSIC won’t look at funding anything to refurbish unless it’s a minimum 30-year lease.  Spokeswoman for the NSW Minister for the Arts, Mr Collins, says negotiations are continuing (between the Maritime Services Board, the entity responsible for Walsh Bay; the Ministry for the Arts; and the Government’s Property Services Group), and is hopeful a longer lease will be offered. 

-Brenda Croft opened Strange Fruit at the Performance Space (Sydney); the exhibition focused on the ‘icon’ of the urban black woman

-Narratives (June 30-July 30) was curated by Hetti Perkins; designed to showcase and draw out the links between Aboriginal women artists of diverse backgrounds: Kerry Giles (Ngarrindjerri), Pantjiti Mary McLean (WA), Peta Lonsdale (Kamileroi), and Elaine Russell (Kamileroi).

-Jumna Millatunth (August 5-20) was an Aboriginal Youth Art Exhibition held at Boomalli

-Boomalli put out an internationally-touring exhibition, True Colours: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Artists Raise the Flag (including 200 tea towels by Brook Andrew, and works by H.J. Wedge), coordinated by Brenda Croft and Hetti Perkins.  This exhibition was a collaboration between Boomalli and INIVA (the Institute for New International Visual Art) and Black curator, writer, academic Eddie Chambers, and it toured venues in Britain and Australia 1994-1996.  In Britain, funding was from the Greater London Arts Council and the British Council in Australia—enabling Hetti Perkins and r e a to present a series of workshops and lectures in 1994.  Further funding from the Australia Council enabled the Australian tour 1995-1996.  In May 1995, True Colours showed at Boomalli and at the Performance Space Gallery—it was a deliberately confrontational exhibition designed to explode white myths of Aboriginal pasts and passivity. 

-Blakness: Blak City Culture! (October 8-November 6) was curated by Clare Williamson and Hetti Perkins and was held at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) in Melbourne, and Boomalli in Sydney.  The catalogue won Lin Tobias of La Bella Design 1st place in Group B Catalogues of the NSW Design Awards.  The exhibition featured works by Brook Andrew, Joanne Currie, Destiny Deacon, Peter Noble, Clinton Peterson, and r e a.  Using Destiny Deacon’s reclaiming of the meaning and spelling of the word “black,” Blak City Culture is the assertion and exploration of the possibilities of identity, of Blakness.  The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists who participated in this exhibition elegantly affirmed an interventionist, pragmatic approach to politically-informed aesthetic production.    

-Isabell Coe, Robyn Caughlan, David Fernando, and James Simon exhibited their work at Boomalli in October. 

-Urban Arty-Facts (December 2-21) was Boomalli’s annual members’ exhibition

-also in 1994: Cheyenne/Arapaho artist Hachivi Edgar Heap of Birds had a two-month residency/cultural exchange with Boomalli.  Sixteen Songs/Issues of Personal Assessment and Indigenous Renewal was a show that was held at Boomalli and Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute (in Adelaide),  Sacred Circle Gallery of American Indian Art (in Seattle), and at a venue in Texas in 1995.  The exhibition featured work by Edgar, as well as Boomalli and other Indigenous Australia artists. 

Late 1990s: this was a time period that brought many changeovers in staff at Boomalli, as members left to undertake new projects, and the Cooperative underwent several relocations.

-May 30: Tullagulla Limited was incorporated as a public company limited by guarantee.  The name was chosen (suggested originally by Col James) because it was the original Eora name for Dawes Point, which was in the region of Millers Point.  In 1993, the NSW Minister for the Arts and State Treasurer Peter Collins had announced, in the 1993-94 budget, the allocation of Bond Store 3 at Millers Point for an Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Sydney.  In addition, $1.5 million was committed for the refit and refurbishment of the premises.  Lengthy negotiations ensued between the consortium of organizations (originally Bangarra, Blackbooks, Blackfella Films, Bula Bula Arts, AAMA [Aboriginal Arts Management Association, now the National Indigenous Arts Advocacy Association, NIMAA], and Boomalli; soon Niki Nali replaced Bula Bula Arts, AAMA withdrew, and Gadigal Information Services was invited to replace them), NSW State Government, ATSIC, and the then-NSW Office of Aboriginal Affairs (which was later the Department of Aboriginal Affairs).  It became increasingly clear that Bond Store 3 would not be suitable for the project, given the diverse requirements of the member organizations.  A change of government occurred in March 1995, and Tullagulla wrote to the new Premier Bob Carr, requesting that he consider allocating part of Pier 4/5 in Walsh Bay, and the whole of the Earth Exchange premises at Dawes Point, towards the project.  Bangarra and Niki Nali separated amicably from Tullagulla in order to negotiate directly with the State Government regarding Pier 4/5, while the other orgs continued negotiations with ATSIC and the State Government over the necessary refit of the Earth Exchange.  As of April 1996, ATSIC was to commit $2 million to the refit of the building, and Tullagulla hoped that the lease would be a minimum of 30 years.  (Member organizations, as of April 1996: Boomalli, Blackbooks, Blackfella Films, and Gadigal Information Services).     

-June 13: Annual General Meeting elected the following Board of Directors: Judy Chester (chair), r e a (treasurer), Elaine Russell (Secretary), and Terri Janke, Gerard Scifo, Brook Andrew, and Rosalie Graham, members.  Terri Janke stood down later in the year due to her commitments with the National Indigenous Arts Advocacy Association (NIAAA).  New artist members: Barrina South, Peter Noble, Leonie Dennis, Ron Griffin, Shane Griffiths, James Simon, and community members Terri Janke, Kerry Reid-Gilbert, and Lee Madden. 

-October 10-11: the NSW state budget announced the establishment of an Aboriginal Cultural Centre for NSW, to house Sydney’s major Aboriginal arts and media organizations, and be a major public access point for Indigenous arts and culture.  The facility would include a theatrette for Indigenous films and education programs; a public gallery space; artists’ studios; a radio station; publication outlet; and information centre.  This is the first mention in the press of “Tullagulla,” the company formed by Blackfella Films, Black Books, Boomalli, Bangarra, and Gadigal Information Services.  Tullagulla will manage this new centre, which will be based at the former Earth Exchange Museum building in George Street in the Rocks.  Tullagulla hopes to get support from ATSIC and the NSW Public Works staff. 
              -this budget was the first state budget of Premier Bob Carr
              -centre was due to cost $2.4 million (compare this to the $3 million mentioned for a centre in November 1993), and to be built on 2 sites: at the former Earth Exchange in the Rocks (housing Boomalli, Blackbooks, Blackfella Films, and Gadigal Information Services); and at Pier 4/5 in Wash Bay (housing Bangarra Dance Theatre and Nikinali Sounds).
              -another $1.5 million was due to come from ATSIC in 1996-97

-the “Deadlys” began at Boomalli in Redfern—originally to recognize achievement in music, but by 2002, the celebration was extended to include excellence in sport, film, theatre, and health.  The Deadlys were televised for the first time in 2003, their 9th year.

-On a Mission (November) was a Boomalli group exhibition that commissioned five artists to create work on their mission experience—either directly or indirectly.  Artists included Michael Riley, Elaine Russell, Leonie Dennis, H.J. Wedge, Julie Dowling, and Julie Gough.

- Re:actions (December 1-20) was the annual members’ exhibition, in which participants grappled with nuclear testing in the Pacific.  Artists included r e a, Brook Andrew, H.J. Wedge, Peter Noble, Judy Watson, Brenda Croft, and emerging artists Gordon Hookey and Kevin May.    

-Curator Hetti Perkins resigned in December 1995, and Jody Chester acted as Assistant Curator

-in January, Boomalli provided 8 flagpoles for the Sydney Festival. Designed by member artists, these were to decorate the Opera House’s forecourt; they dealt with the site on which they stood—Bennelong Point—and the tribe whose land it was.  Called the Boomalli “Flag Project” or “Banner Project,” it travelled down the Opera House walkways and dealt with the complex and contested set of usages of the Bennelong Point site. Works were by Brenda Croft, Michael Riley, Harold Thomas, and r e a. 

-Boomalli membership, as of April 1996: Judy Chester (chair); r e a (treasurer); Elaine Russell (secretary); Rosalie Graham and Gerard Scifo (directors); Brook Andrew (alternate director).  Staff: Brenda Croft (general manager); Jody Chester (administrator/acting assistant curator); Rosalie Graham (casual bookkeeper). 

-Scenes from the West (April 1996) launched the exhibition calendar at Boomalli, and included the works of Pantjiti Mary McLean and Mangkaja Artists.

-Chip on the Shoulder was a Boomalli group exhibition that included the work of Elaine Russell

-August 15: the future of Boomalli is in doubt following an 85% cut to its annual budget by ATSIC.  General Manager Brenda Croft said publicly: Boomalli would have to find $176,000 for its operating costs or face closure.  Bangarra and Gadigal Information Services were also facing closure at this point

-Tess McLennan was curator at Boomalli for at least a short while in 1996. 

-fluent (June-September) was Australia’s representative exhibition at the 1997 Venice Biennale, curated by Hetti Perkins and Brenda Croft (and Victoria Lynne at the Art Gallery of New South Wales).  The show included paintings by Emily Kngwarreye and Judy Watson, and eel traps woven by Yvonne Koolmatrie.  This was the first time Aboriginal women artists would represent Australia at a Venice Biennale, and it positioned Aboriginal work at the forefront of contemporary art

-Boomalli was one of 20 gallery spaces hosting the 1997 Perspecta (August-September)

-installation by r e a at Boomalli entitled Eye/I’mma Blak Piece (September-October), a complex and quirky work consisting of a series of square mirrors organized in a grid on the floor of 2 partitioned rooms.  In the middle of each mirror, the artist has placed a glass bottle filled with liquids to symbolize urine, blood, etc.  Part of the Festival of the Dreaming, this installation was a reflection by r e a on being an Aboriginal woman.  r e a considers oppression, tracing its symptoms in her family history.  Her self-portrait, armed with a camera, confronts the viewer: the artist deflects our gaze, making us look at ourselves and question our assumptions. 

-Black on Track (opened November 28) was Boomalli’s 10th anniversary show.  Jody Chester is the current administrator. 

1998-2000: Bronwyn Bancroft was the General Manager at Boomalli.  Boomalli was located in Newtown?

Late 1990s-early 2000s: Boomalli shifted attention to the growing Aboriginal community within Sydney’s western suburbs.  First, took temporary space on Parramatta Road (Annandale), and then moved to their own building in Leichhardt—responding to the movement of the Aboriginal community westwards, and catering to the large Indigenous population in Sydney’s west.

-the Boomalli premises moved to 191 Parramatta Road in Annandale in mid-1998—a temporary relocation until permanent premises could be secured

-Hetti Perkins went on to be the Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the Art Gallery of NSW, and Brenda Croft went on to become the Curator of Indigenous Art at the Art Gallery of Western Australia (in 1999). 

-Black Roots (February) was Boomalli’s Mardi Gras exhibition, including the work of Destiny Deacon, Clinton Nain, Deborah Breckenridge, and Jeffrey Samuels. 

-Takeback! An Exhibition of Art from the Wik and Kugu Nations (September 2-October 4) was a Boomalli exhibition recognizing the continuity of Wik arts and culture, 20 years after the 1978 Queensland Government’s “Takeover” of Aurukun, in Cape York. 

-Black Humour (September 9-26) was a Canberra Contemporary Art Space exhibition that included the works of Bianca Beetson, Brenda Palma, Gerard ‘Bize’ Scifo, Brook Andrew, Julie Gough, Laurie Nilsen, Campfire Group, Darryl (Milika) Pfitzner, Sue Elliott, Gordon Hookey, and H.J. Wedge. 

-Women’s Work, Land + Spirit (September 30-October 31) featured the work of Indigenous women from eight countries, from Western Australia to Western Samoa, showcasing the ways in which women’s craft practices sustain and enrich their societies culturally and economically. 

-Danceclan (November 10-December 5) was a coming together of Aboriginal art and cultural organizations for an end of year show—held at Bangarra Dance Theatre

-in November, the NSW state government announces its final round of arts funding before going to the polls in March 1999.  $14.2 million allocated; within this budget, Boomalli had its annual grant almost doubled to $47,796

-by March 19: Boomalli is at new premises in Parramatta Road.  Press reports that the relocation of Boomalli has seen a change of staff and a drop in its once-impressive profile, but the space is alive and well, fostering and promoting another generation of urban Aboriginal artists.

-Michael Riley’s photography and films opened the new space—Fly blown and Empire (March 19-April 17)

-Leonie Dennis had a Boomalli show, The Art of Storytelling sometime in 1999, reflecting on her own and her husband’s families and visualizing what life was like growing up around Coonamble and Walgett.   

-Bolwara: to open the eyes (September 25-December 5) is a Museum of Sydney exhibition featuring a range of boldly designed, brightly coloured images by artists associated with Boomalli: Bronwyn Bancroft, Gordon Hookey, r e a, Shirley Amos, Jeffrey Samuels, Leonie Dennis, Euphemia Bostock, Tracey Bostock, Kym Hudson, Brook Andrew, and Gordon Syron. 

2000-2002: Jonathan Jones (Kamilaroi/Wiradjuri) was Curator at Boomalli.  During his tenure, he worked on an international exchange with First Nations in Canada. 

-Makeup of Boomalli is as follows:
Euphemia Bostock (director and practicing artist)
Bronwyn Bancroft (director and practicing artist)
Michael Riley (chair and practicing artist)
Tracey Moffatt, Fiona Foley, Fernanda Martens, Jeffrey Samuels, Arone Raymond Meeks (practicing artists)
Brenda Croft (Curator, AGWA and practicing artist)
Avril Quaill (Curator, NGA)

-Members’ exhibition is held in January 

-February 14: SMH reports that the plan to move Boomalli into the former Earth Exchange Museum in the Rocks has been abandoned (and instead, this building is set to become the Arts Exchange, housing the Sydney Film Festival headquarters, Symphony Australia, and the Sydney Office of the Australian Ballet).

-Comfort Zone (opens May 24) is an exhibition that considers new media art from within Aboriginal Australia

-New Beginnings, New Ideas (July 11-August 5) was an exhibition that brought together lesser-known and well-known Indigenous artists from around Sydney, covering a huge range of media, including Harry Wedge’s  “Cat Painting,” Julie Freeman’s acrylic canvases, and Shirley Amos’s dot paintings

-Mum Shirl: the Sacred Trust of Memory (November 22-December 22) was an exhibition coordinated by Bronwyn Bancroft, in which 68 artists contributed work to pay tribute to Mum Shirl—this was the first time that Boomalli exhibited non-Aboriginal artists in its 13-year existence.  There was a sister exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum that ran concurrently (until February 28, 2001).  

2001-2003: Lynne Syme was the Manager at Boomalli (and secretary of Tullagulla)

-Centenary vs. Eternity (February) exhibition held at Boomalli (in Annandale); funded by the Centenary of Federation Committee, this exhibition was designed to give Indigenous people a voice for their opinions, and included a collaboration between Valerie Law and Kevin Butler. 

-True! (May-June 2) was an exhibition of photography, video, and digital art held at Boomalli (Parramatta Road, Annandale) to launch and headline the three-week long Message Sticks festival (after it was at Boomalli, it was at the Sydney Opera House June 5-July 4).  This exhibition was intended to be a response to white historical documentation of Aboriginal culture—as black photographers gave their own views on history, land, and people.  Artists included Peter McKenzie, Brenda Palma, Merv Bishop, Michael Riley, Jenny Fraser, Tracey Bostock, Kerry Reed-Gilbert, Bronwyn Bancroft, and Joe Hurst.  The curator of this show was Jonathan Jones (then aged 22!)

-also in May 2001: an exhibition curated by Boomalli held at TheWharf2 Gallery of the Sydney Theatre Company, Pier 4, meant to showcase Aboriginal life through large-scale works by Bronwyn Bancroft, Chris Christopherson, Kevin Gilbert, Adam Hill, Gordon Hookey, Joe Hurst, Michael Riley, and Jeffrey Samuels.

-Beyond Federation to a Treaty: Readings (July 10, 2001): an event including Kerry Reed-Gilbert, Norm Newlin, Terri Janke, and Anita Heiss.

-Back to back—black to black (September 9-October 6, 2001): an exhibition held at Boomalli celebrating many years of friendship, motherhood, sisterhood, and artistic endeavour of Bronwyn Bancroft and Euphemia Bostock.  Friends for 16 years, they first exhibited together at the Aboriginal Medical Service fashion parade in Sydney in 1987 (and then later at the AU Printemps Department Store parade in Paris).  Both have Bundjalung heritage, from northern NSW. 
              -Phemie: I got into the fashion side of things because I was called in for the community; I never wanted to be a designer.  Didn’t have any ambition for that sort of thing.
              -only after they travelled to Paris together did they become close; now they speak almost every day; Phemie says of Bronwyn: she’s like another daughter to me, and my daughters feel like she’s a sister to them.

-Reflecting Mission Life (October 31-November 17, 2001): an exhibition held at Boomalli, including works by Elaine Russell and Leonie Dennis.  During the same time period, Outer Space and works on paper by H.J. Wedge were showing at Boomalli

-November 16, 2001: Brenda Croft is announced as the new Senior Curator of Aboriginal Art at the National Gallery of Australia (a position vacated by veteran Wally Caruana), the first Indigenous person to hold this job

-Pacific Wave Triptych Exhibition: In Ya Face (November 29-December 22): an exhibition held at Boomalli featuring Gordon Hookey and Gordon Syron painting a social commentary on important Aboriginal historical and political events that have shaped Australia since 1788.  Including Hookey’s paintings and sculptural works, and Syron’s contemporary pieces, as well as works by Christine Christopherson

-Boomalli enters an agreement, in late 2001, with Leichhardt restaurant Blue Potato to show Boomalli works there—put up a few works and had sales.

-also in late 2001, Adam Hill held a solo show at Boomalli

2002-2009: Boomalli is located at 55-59 Flood Street in Leichhardt.  The building is a former real estate auction centre, which Boomalli bought for $1.5million (with ATSIC funds) in/around January 2002.

-Blanket[ed] (January 2002): a 6-person exhibition co-curated by Catherine Mattes (an Indigenous woman from Manitoba, Canada) and Jonathan Jones, as part of an international exchange between Winnpieg’s Urban Shaman Gallery and Sydney’s Boomalli.  Image of the blanket and notions of blanketing as a metaphor for the hopes, losses, suffering, political plight, and aspirations shared by Canadian and Australian Aboriginal communities.  This exhibition included works by Adam Hill, Elaine Russell, and was shown in Winnipeg.

-A Material Thing (March 1-13): an exhibition held at Boomalli featuring fabric designs, including wearable clothing, handpainted silks, patchwork quilts, and tea towels. 

-in March 2002, Boomalli was poised to move to Tullagulla (at the old Earth Exchange Building in the Rocks), when a local philanthropist anonymously granted an interest-free loan to Boomalli to enable the purchase of the perpetual lease to the old Trocadero building in King Street, Newtown.  This was to be an ideal situation, close to Redfern and the inner-city gallery circuit.

-Talkin’ About Country (April 2002): Kerry Reed-Gilbert held her first solo exhibition at Boomalli

-May 13-June 2: Boomalli artists Adam Hill and Esme Timbery exhibited their work in the Opera House Studio foyer as part of Message Sticks, the contemporary Indigenous Arts Festival. 

-Bringing it Home Nure Style (late September-October 1): an exhibition displaying the new works by Boomalli members (including work by Elaine Russell)

-Kweer Art (October 23-November 30): an exhibition held at Boomalli—the first one mentioned in the press as being held at the new Leichhardt location—a collection of works revealing the diversity of Indigenous Australian artists (including work by Jeffrey Samuels)

-Stories from Australia Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Peoples opened December 7, 2002, in Guangzhou, China (including the work of Boomalli artists Jeffrey Samuels and Joe Hurst). 

-Michael Riley’s exhibition cloud was part of the Sydney festival in January 2003—displayed in banner format at Circular Quay. 

-June 2003: Boomalli announces plans for $1 million fit-out of its Leichhardt premises, to include Boomalli, as well as Indigenous Screen Australia and Gadigal Information Services.  The centre is provisionally to be called Tullagulla—designed to be a cultural hub with on-air suites, offices, and facilities to launch and screen Indigenous films.  It is later announced that Tullagulla is short of the $1 million necessary to execute the plan because the New South Wales Government reneged on a promise made in response to recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.  In its official response to the Royal Commission back in 1996, the NSW state government promised to allow Tullagulla to use a former museum in the Rocks (see notes for 1996), and this never eventuated. 

-July 30-August 3: Boomalli participated in the Art on Paper Fair at Fox Studios, Moore Park

-Nicole Renee Phillips’ show Reflections was held sometime in 2003.  The artist uses multiple mediums to express who she is, and what her two years as an art student has meant to her

-November 19: a “Lightning Strikes” auction is held at Boomalli, selling paintings, prints, and photography from more than 30 artists.

-December 18: Boomalli launches a 25% off stockroom sale, including works by Bronwyn Bancroft, Merv Bishop, Michael Riley, and Harry Wedge.  At this time (late 2003), Boomalli curator is Tracey Duncan. 

-Boomalli Members are: Joyce Abraham, Shirley Amos, Bronwyn Bancroft, Debra Beale, Mervyn Bishop, Euphemia Bostock, Cecil Bowden, Sheryl Connors, Danny Eastwood, Jamie Eastwood, Peter Hinton, Joe Hurst, Gary Jones, Neville McKenzie, Nicole Phillips, Carmel Richardson, Michael Riley, Jeffrey Samuels, Brenda Saunders, Dorsey Smith, Jake Soewardie, Izelda Some, Khi-Lee Thorpe, Daphne Wallace, Greg Weatherby, Zona Wilkinson, Lindsay Williams.  Staff: Melissa Abraham and Tracey Duncan.

-Urban Myth Members’ Exhibition (January 23-February 10) held at Boomalli.  Dot paintings sat alongside figurative and landscape paintings, photography, and lino prints.  Artists included Bronwyn Bancroft, Lewis Burns (works include “Surrounded by Society: Part One,” which has a kangaroo perusing the paintings; and “Platypus Mating,” submerges the gallery setting in water).

-February: curator Tracey Duncan (of Sydney Community College) offered workshops at Boomalli on contemporary and traditional Aboriginal art, the history of Boomalli, and the work of co-op members.  There were four two-hour sessions.  The first one ran February 10th at the Boomalli premises in Leichhardt.

-July: the Museum of Sydney held an Open Day during NAIDOC week, including displays of Indigenous art by Boomalli members.

-September: Boomalli founder Michael Riley passed away.

-November: the Balmain film festival included a series of Indigenous films and music, hosted by Boomalli at the Balmain Town Hall

-December 9: Boomalli’s annual members’ show opened.

-Colour Power (December 2004-February 2005) was an exhibition held at the National Gallery of Victoria’s Ian Potter Centre at Federation Square in Melbourne that included prominent works by Boomalli artists. 

April 2005-March 2009: Matt Poll was Artistic Director at Boomalli.

-Boomalli Board of Directors:
Jeffrey Samuels (Chair)
Euphemia Bostock (Co-Chair)
Bronwyn Bancroft (Secretary)
Sheryl Connors, Mervyn Bishop, Lesley Yasso, Geoff Scott (directors)

-founder Fiona Foley is an adjunct professor at Sydney University

-May/June: Boomalli received a $15,000 grant to upgrade exhibition space and improve artworks storage area

-Exhibition calendar opens this year with Gordon Syron’s New and Old Works in July

-July 8: Boomalli collaborated with the Leichhardt Council to host a community barbeque and Aboriginal art exhibition for NAIDOC week.

-August: Dorsey Smith’s first solo exhibition

-September 15: Matt Poll, Judith Ryan, Ray Thomas, and Kamahi Djordon-King are quoted in an SBS piece saying that Australia needs a national institution showcasing Indigenous art (like the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris); Government counters, saying there are no plans to do so at the moment.

-September 22: Like many other Indigenous organizations, Boomalli is suffering in the wake of the abolition of ATSIC.  Last week, Federal Arts Minister Rod Kemp announced that Boomalli would receive $100,000 in 2005-06; Artistic Director Matt Poll went on the record saying that this amount would only cover the gallery’s administrative and daily costs.  Matt went on to say: we used to have four full-time staff-members, but now with these funding limitations, we can only support one.

-October: Geoffrey Ferguson solo exhibition—showcasing a body of works in the seascape tradition, but with “subtle hints of Aboriginal cultural history” below the surface

-November: Members’ exhibition

-Boomalli Members:
Bronwyn Bancroft, Euphemia Bostock, Brenda Croft, Fiona Foley, Fernanda Martins, Arone Raymone Meeks, Tracey Moffatt, Avril Quaill, Michael Riley, Jeffrey Samuels (founding members);
Joyce Abraham, Melissa Abraham, Shirley Amos, Debra Beale, Mervyn Bishop, Lewis Burns, Luke Close, Bev Coe, Sheryl Connors, Leonie Dennis, Adam Hill, Joe Hurst, Jingalu, Martin DeLauney, Brenda Palma, Rita Pearce, Nicole Phillips, r e a, Nyree Reynolds, Carmel Richardson, Elaine Russell, Brenda Saunders, Les Saxby, Jake Soewardie, Barrina South, Izelda Sore, Gordon Syron, Paul Taylor, Vee Thornbury, Brad Webb, Harry Wedge (artist members)  

-The Pink, the Black, and the Beautiful (February 9-March 4) was an exhibition held at Boomalli as part of Sydney’s Mardi Gras celebrations, and included video, photography, paintings, and etchings (such as Arone Raymond Meeks’ “Saltwater” series).  Mardi Gras chair Marcus Bourget opened the exhibition, and Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, and actor/director Noel Tovey were guest speakers.  This exhibition considered ideas of the representation of sexuality as well as the experience of being queer, black, and proud.  Participants included Luke Close, Destiny Deacon, Karla Dickens, Arone Raymond Meeks, Eric Renshaw, Jeffrey Samuels, John South, Noel Tovey, and invited non-Indigenous artist Elaine Pelot Syron. 

-March: works from Boomalli were part of the Ultimo Pyrmont UPTown Festival (which kicked off March 25) 25th anniversary celebration art exhibition. 

-Leichhardt Mining Sacred Ground (March 31-April 14) was an exhibition hosted by Boomalli to raise money for the Mineral Policy Institute (an organization that helps Aboriginal people lobby government for their interests)

-July 3-4: stories, crafts, and films by Boomalli are at the Balmain and Leichhardt public libraries in celebration of NAIDOC week.

-Big Ones Little Ones (July 11-August 1) is a Boomalli exhibition featuring young artists from remote towns in mainland Australia, the Torres Strait, and Palm Island, the show aimed to connect communities.  Children from Australia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and New Zealand exhibited their work alongside emerging and established Aboriginal artists including Rosie Barkus, Joe Hurst, Queenie Kenny, Esther Quinlan, James Simon, Veronica Turner, and Daphne Wallace.  Also East Timor President Xanana Gusma exhibited a limited edition print of one of his original paintings.  After August 1, the exhibition moved to Parliament House in Sydney for display on the Reconciliation Wall for 2 months.  Young participants Wesley Simon and Alessio Petrelli (from St. Lucy’s School in Wahroonga) were selected to have their work displayed at the exhibition that travelled to Parliament House. 

-Sights Unseen (July 14-October 16), a major retrospective of Michael Riley’s work, opens at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.  Boomalli lent works for this important exhibition, curated by Brenda Croft, then Senior Curator for Indigenous Art at NGA. 

-Slimey Things & Darth Vegas (July) is an exhibition that opened July 27 at Boomalli (charged $10 entry fee).

-Other 2006 exhibitions included: Mobochre—Artists from Dubbo; Christine Christopherson—Blue Print; Euraba Dreaming; Indigenous Landscape Design (in which artists and local councils discussed opportunities for Aboriginal artists to be more closely involved); Arton Water; and Sacred Ground

-in November 2006, the board is comprised of: Jeffrey Samuels, Adam Hill, Sheryl Connors, Gary Jones; alternate members: Shirley Amos, Barina South 

July 2007-March 2009: Darrell Sibosado was the Program Manager at Boomalli.

-Sights Unseen travelled to the Monash Gallery of Art in Wheelers Hill, Victoria (January 7-February 25)

-February 8: reported in the press that Boomalli received $39,500 from a state of NSW government Cultural Grants Program as part of the state government’s commitment of $29 million in 2007 to support the arts.

-March 1: the work of Indigenous lesbian artists was celebrated at Boomalli, including the works of Destiny Deacon, Jenny Fraser, Mary Munro, Shirley Amos, and Karla Dickens. 

-March 8: Boomalli held a dance party to celebrate International Women’s Day—including performances by Deborah Cheetham and Lou Bennett with DJ Gemma.

-March 11: Boonalli hosted an artists’ forum to discuss HIV in female Indigenous communities, held by the NSW AIDS Council

-July: Boomalli held a major Founding Members’ Exhibition, celebrating 20 years of Boomalli; the show then travelled to the Art Gallery of NSW, where “Boomalli: 20 Years On” celeberated the Cooperative’s 20th anniversary.  The show brought together artworks from each of the 10 founding members of Boomalli and provided a reunion opportunity for the remaining 9 members. 

-September: a Kamilaroi exhibition surveying artists from the Moree region of NSW

-October: “Storytellers” was a 3-day workshop and seminar (coordinated by Darrell Sibosado) encouraging visual artists and filmmakers to share anecdotes of their working with narrative.  Guest speakers included Rachel Perkins, Wayne Blair, Romaine Moreton, and Adrian Wills, with a guest performance by Casey Donovan.

-also in October: the National Indigenous Art Triennial Culture Warriors opened at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, featuring three Boomalli artists

-November-Christmas: Debra Beale (an Aboriginal artist who works in Woolloomooloo but was involved with Boomalli) had two designs in the rotation of projections on the Sydney Town Hall as part of the Christmas Night Light Projections—a free slide show for residents and visitors (as the iconic landmark is bathed in stunning images evoking a truly Australian Christmas).  The projections included: eucalyptus leaves, wattle, gumnuts and stars; Sydney summer at the beach; a giant Christmas tree with decorations like the southern cross; a huge Christmas lolly shop; a map of Sydney; children’s illustrations of Australian animals; cockatoos flying over sandy desert.  Debra’s contributions were “Gamilaroi” and “Eora.”    

Also in 2007:
-3 in 10 was a group exhibition held at Boomalli that included Karla Dickens
-Re-Inscriptions was a collaboration between Boomalli and the Asian Australian Arts Centre that worked to illuminate the two communities’ similarities in challenging dominant orthodoxies within the arts establishment

Boomalli Board: Jake Soewardie (Chair); George Femia (acting Treasurer); and Sheryl Connors, Chris Richardson, Adam Hill, Djon Mundine (Directors). 

-Hand in Hand (February 8-March 4) was an exhibition held at Boomalli, co-curated by Jenny Fraser and Shigeyuki Kihara, to celebrate Mardi Gras 2008.  Kihara is an Auckland artist of Japanese and Samoan parentage, and she performed at Boomalli during the exhibition.  The exhibition was designed to offer dialogue and aesthetic expression in breaking down the invisibility and marginalization faced by Indigenous gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and Sistagirl, Takatapui, and Fa’fafine people. 

-July: Boomalli hosted a group show by Aboriginal and Pacific Islander students from Sydney Secondary College’s Balmain campus

-late July-August 8: Boomalli Chair of the Board Jake Soewardie opened an exhibition at the Ku-ring-gai Art Centre in Roseville.  This was an exhibition by urban Aboriginal artists showing non-traditional paintings

-Culture Warriors showed at the Art Gallery of South Australia July 25-August 21, and at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in September

-Adam Hill resigned from the Board of Boomalli in September

-Lines in the Sand: Botany Bay Stories from 1770 was an exhibition curated by Ace Bourke and held at the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre, including works by Boomalli artists Brenda Croft, Adam Hill, Tracey Moffatt, Michael Riley, Elaine Russell, and H. J. Wedge

-Blooming Arts (November 22-29) was an exhibition held at Boomalli, featuring paintings, sculptures, mosaics, watercolours, and photography created by people with disabilities. 

-Boomalli member Les Saxby passed away on February 8, age 37.

-Still Black (February-March) was the annual Mardi Gras exhibition, curated by Darrell Sibosado, and presented by Boomalli in partnership with ACON’s (AIDS Council of NSW) Aboriginal Project.  This exhibition was a visual statement by Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists of various sexual textures, exploring the concepts of categorizing, profiling, and identifying—about accepting the various aspects of personhood while refusing to be kept in one little box. 

-Quattro (March 18-April 4) was a collaboration between Boomalli artist Joe Hurst and 3 Italian artists (Armando Favrin, Gino Nalini, and Francesco Petrolo)—all of whom know each other and have long exchanged ideas about art and social interventions

Aboriginal art in Sydney


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