Stories are being felt and will be shared by Country

Baiame Ngunnhu (Songlines mapping trip, June2021)

These are hard times. Stories of this time are being felt and will be shared by Country.

Taragara projects and research are led by Elders and Community – many in western NSW currently being ravaged by COVID.

Our projects follow Songlines, and we connect to Country through kinship – family.

While we have been finding new ways to stay connected Online and OnCountry, COVID and the limitations of technology in western NSW, are making it tough.

And there has been Sorry Business. There is Sorry Business.

Some of the Taragara team are mourning.

We are yarning online when and where we can. Elders are weaving and yarning in their own homes.

We cannot physically follow the Songlines at the moment. We are still, but we are still connected to each other and Country

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Taragara is thankful for the support of partners including the Australian Research Council, AIATSIS, Heritage NSW, Western Local Land Services, Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife, Oxfam, Create NSW, University of New England, AU and Maranguka.

We are very grateful for the support of Elders and Community.

Looking forward to taking the next steps alongside them and Typecast Entertainment when we can again. Stay safe everyone.

Stay safe everyone

For many weeks we have been yarning and weaving on a Tuesday morning – together in person or on zoom, Yarning Online OnCountry KurraPurra Pila.

Today is different as we are all at home. This is important as we are staying safe and helping our whole community stay safe.

We will be together in person again soon!

Funding for ‘Mura Maarni: Chasing Mob through the Archives’

We are VERY excited to be able to announce that Taragara Aboriginal Corporation’s ‘Mura Maarni: Chasing Mob through the Archives’ project is one of 14 projects funded under the AIATSIS Indigenous Research Exchange grants program.

Mura Maarni is an oral history and interdisciplinary multimedia research project that focuses on the Mura of the Corner Country now held in collecting institutions such as archives, galleries and museums.

Find out more HERE

Western NSW Aboriginal Elders lead new project with environmental and Cultural benefits

KurruPurra Pila Weavers Aunty Jeananne Edwards, Aunty Nolene Nean, Aunty Dot Martin, Aunty Shirley Renayne and Aunty Sandra Kelly at Maranguka Community Hub

Aboriginal Elders from six Western NSW communities are leading a new project that will create wide reaching environmental and Cultural benefits.

Yarning Online OnCountry – Kurru Purra Pila provides a culturally safe place for sharing knowledge and skills – enabling the transference of Cultural Knowledge between Elders and extended family while producing both creative and environmental outcomes.

“This project grew from another,” said Lorina Barker, Director of Taragara Aboriginal Corporation.

“In 2020, Bourke Elders were weaving and yarning during the original Yarning Online OnCountry project. They used raffia and other purchased materials but were keen to work with the broad range of materials that have traditionally been used for weaving – and they were very aware that the Cultural Knowledge around caring for, harvesting, and weaving with those materials could potentially be lost.”

Master weaver and Ngarrindjeri Elder Aunty Ellen Trevorrow joined the Bourke Elders online during the 2020 workshops. She described how she had developed partnerships with landholders to ensure some areas of native spiny sedge remained excluded from grazing and that she had access to harvest the grasses for weaving at appropriate times.

The group looked at areas around Bourke where spiny sedge and other grasses were still occurring naturally, and some areas that had been previously revegetated. While vegetation had been hit hard by drought, the plants had survived and were making an environmental difference on the Baaka.

“The Bourke Elders wanted to build on what they had begun during Yarning Online OnCountry, and were keen to facilitate a process that would both preserve Cultural Knowledge and care for Country,” said Dr Barker.

“They reached out to Elders in other Western NSW communities via their kinship networks and, in partnership with Taragara, devised Yarning Online OnCountry: Kurru Purra Pila Weaving.”

Aboriginal Elders and Knowledge Holders, as well as younger people, from Bourke, Brewarrina, Weilmoringle, Enngonia, Goodooga and Wilcannia will contribute to the project that will connect people, the river, the spiny sedge and weaving techniques to the Mura (Songlines) – Baiame, Water Snakes, Seven Sisters along the Baaka Barwon river systems and its tributaries – Ngarntu (Culgoa), Paroo and Warrego Rivers. It includes private and public lands as determined by Aboriginal Elders in consultation with landholders and land managers. Traditional Owners include Ngemba, Barkindji, Wangkumara, Murrawarri and Kunja people.

“This is a Cultural and regeneration project that will pass on oral history – reconnecting with and preserving Cultural Knowledge and skills while also regenerating sites to enable this process,” Dr Barker said.

“Taragara is excited to be able to work alongside ours Elders and we are looking forward to what is ahead!”

‘Yarning Online OnCountry’ has been created in partnership between Community and Taragara Aboriginal Corporation. This project is funded by the NSW Government through Heritage NSW and Western Local Land Services NSW, and by Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife through its Community Conservation Grants program. It is supported by the University of New England.

Special thanks to our Elders, community members, local partners, landholders and land managers for their support of this project.

Elders begin mapping Songlines of Country

Songlines of Country project team at the Gorge with Uncle Kelvin Johnson and Aunty Judy Johnson 

The Aboriginal Elders and Cultural Knowledge Holders leading the Songlines of Country project have begun mapping the project’s physical journey.

“It is great to be able to be back On Country,” said University of New England’s Dr Lorina Barker, a Wangkumara/Muruwari scholar and Lead Chief Investigator of Songlines of Country.

“While the project team, Elders and communities have remained connected and engaged, COVID-19 delayed our ability to travel.”

Read the full post here

Reconciliation through classical music collaboration

Back row- Dr Julie Collins, Dr Lorina Barker, Phillipa Trelford, Prof Mike Wilmore, Uncle Rick Elwood, Wiradjuri Soprano Georgina Hall, Aunty Rebecca McKellar, Dr Paul Smith, Rick McKellar junior, Aunty Louise Elwood (seated); Front row- Dr Alana Blackburn, James McKay , Robert Jackson, Eliza Scott.

“A collaborative composition project at UNE is bringing emotive musical meaning to UNE’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). A musical composition commissioned by the Vice Chancellor of UNE has been underway since late 2020, and the composition was recently played and recorded for the first time.

This project has been a collaboration between Dr Lorina Barker, Dr Paul Smith, Aboriginal Elders, Wiradjuri soprano Georgina Hall and local Armidale musicians… “

Read the full post here

Elders to develop new project with environmental and cultural benefits, Yarning Online OnCountry

Bourke Aboriginal Elders who have been weaving during the Yarning Online OnCountry project, are keen to explore strategies to ensure culturally and environmentally significant native vegetation remnants are preserved, and that other Country is revegetated.

“Spiny sedge is one native plant that has both environmental and cultural benefits,” said Lorina Barker, Taragara Aboriginal Corporation Director. “The sedge has traditionally been harvested for weaving. However, the Cultural Knowledge around managing and harvesting the sedge, as well as the sedge itself, has declined since colonisation.”

The Yarning Online OnCountry project began in August. Since then, Elders and Community who have a shared history and experience, have been gathering weekly in small, socially distanced groups in Bourke – and via zoom.

Participants have been weaving with raffia and other purchased materials. At the same time, Elders have described the broad range of materials that can be used for weaving – and have traditionally been used.

With support from Local Lands Services Western NSW, the group investigated areas at North Bourke that have been previously revegetated with spiny sedge. While plantings had been hit hard by drought, plants have survived and are making an environmental difference on the Baaka.

“In addition to the obvious environmental benefits of revegetation, we recognise significant cultural benefits,” Dr Barker said. “This was reinforced when we yarned with Aunty Ellen Trevorrow during our workshops.”

Master weaver and Ngarrindjeri Elder Aunty Ellen Trevorrow joined the Bourke Elders Online OnCountry from Ngarrindjeri Country at Camp Coorong, South Australia. She described how she had developed partnerships with landholders to ensure some areas of native spiny sedge remained excluded from grazing – and that she had access to harvest the grasses at appropriate times.

“The Yarning Online OnCountry creative workshops aimed to improve Elders’ health and wellbeing by minimizing the impacts of social isolation due to COVID-19 restrictions. They have provided a culturally safe place for sharing knowledge, stories and skills – enabling the transference of cultural knowledge between Elders and extended family,” said Dr Barker. “This series of workshops are ending. But we are very excited that, not only will the Elders continue to meet and weave, but that the workshops have been the catalyst for future projects that will have wide-reaching environmental and cultural benefits.”

“With Aunty Ellen’s advice, and the support of LLS, we hope to pursue opportunities to preserve existing areas of native vegetation around Bourke – and revegetate other areas.”

‘Yarning Online OnCountry’ has been created in partnership between Community and Taragara Aboriginal Corporation. This project is funded by the NSW Government through Create NSW and Western Local Land Services NSW. It is supported by the University of New England.

Special thanks to local partners Maranguka Community Hub, Bourke Aboriginal Health Service and Morralls Bakery for their support of this project.

It’s a wrap! … for now

Yarning Online OnCountry weavers at Maranguka, 24 November 2020

The final Yarning Online OnCountry workshop for 2020 was held today.

Elders, Community, and some of the Taragara Aboriginal Corporation team gathered in person at Maranguka Community Hub in Bourke. Others, including Songlines of Country filmmakers Typecast Entertainment joined us on zoom.

Yarning Online OnCountry began in August. While this series of workshops is ending, we are very glad that the Elders will continue to meet and weave regardless – and that there are plans for future projects. Stay tuned!

‘Yarning Online OnCountry’ has been created in partnership between Community and Taragara Aboriginal Corporation. This project is funded by the NSW Government through Create NSW and Western Local Land Services NSW. It is supported by the University of New England.

Special thanks to local partners Maranguka Community Hub, Bourke Aboriginal Health Service and Morralls Bakery for their support of this project.

The musical composition putting words of reconciliation into action

Aunty Rebecca McKellar, Uncle Rick Elwood, Dr Paul Smith UNE, Mr Michael Brogan UNE, Aunty Gwen Barker and Dr Lorina Barker UNE

“Words, plans and good intentions can only carry a vision of reconciliation so far. A new collaborative musical project is one innovative way UNE is giving voice and meaningful expression to the ambition behind UNE’s first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), released in July.

Combining European and Indigenous knowledges and traditions, UNE music lecturer and composer Dr Paul Smith and oral historian and multimedia artist Dr Lorina Barker are developing the creative work, commissioned by UNE, which will tell both a personal and universal story critical to understanding Australia’s divisive history and need for reconciliation …”

Read the full post here

NAIDOC Week 2020 – we are hosting a radio show!

Dr Lorina Barker and Michael Brogan in the tUNE! FM studio talking to Online OnCountry Gallery artist Brentyn Lugnan

Taragara Aboriginal Corporation is in the tUNE! FM 106.9 studio and hosting a radio show on Thursday 12 November, 2020!

Online OnCountry Gallery – An Exhibition of Aboriginal Contemporary Artists‘ opens online on Wednesday 11 November at 6pm. To complement the exhibition, and to celebrate NAIDOC Week, we are hosting a series of artist talks and other activities from the tUNE! FM 106.9 studio.

Aboriginal Elders and Community will drop in and join us for a yarn (in person or online via zoom) throughout the day, but highlights will be:

  • 10.30am – Brentyn Lugnan artist talk
  • 11.00am – Frank Wright artist talk
  • 11.30am – Warwick Keen artist talk
  • 1.00pm to 4.00pm – Yarning Online OnCountry workshop hosted by Aunty Ellen Trevorrow

Tune in to tUNE! FM 106.9 to listen … or join us via zoom: https://une-au.zoom.us/j/94933150542…

We are grateful for the fantastic support of tUNE! FM 106.9.

‘Online OnCountry Gallery’ is a cultural initiative that has been created in partnership between Community and Taragara Aboriginal Corporation. This project is funded by the NSW Government through Create NSW and is supported by the University of New England.

‘Yarning Online OnCountry’ has been created in partnership between Community and Taragara Aboriginal Corporation. This project is funded by the NSW Government through Create NSW. It has received funding from Western Local Land Services NSW and is supported by the University of New England. Special thanks to partners Maranguka Community Hub, Bourke Aboriginal Health Service and Morralls Bakery for their support of this project.

Digital showcase of Aboriginal contemporary artists to launch Online OnCountry for NAIDOC Week

This work is included in Taragara's exhibition: 'Online OnCountry Gallery – an exhibition of Aboriginal Contemporary Artists'
Frank Wright, Seven Sisters, 2007, acrylic on canvas

‘Online OnCountry Gallery: An exhibition of Aboriginal Contemporary Artists’ will launch for NAIDOC Week 2020. The digital showcase will open at 6pm, Wednesday 11 November and will be available online at taragara.org

“This exhibition will provide some insight into the great range and quality of contemporary art being produced by NSW Aboriginal artists,” said exhibition curator and Badtjala/WakkaWakka artist Michael Brogan. “The artists each bring their own unique creative styles and at the same time reflect the broad and dynamic nature of the cultural footprint of this region.”

Exhibiting artists for the inaugural exhibition are Warwick Keen (Gomeroi/Gamilaraay), Brentyn Lugnan (Gumbaynggirr) and Frank Wright (Gamilaroi).

The showcase had originally been planned as a physical exhibition earlier in the year. However, COVID-19 restrictions made the possibility of exhibiting and gathering in a physical space impossible. Instead, it will be the first exhibition to be held digitally on Taragara Aboriginal Corporation’s new platform – Online OnCountry Gallery.

“The Gallery will be a safe place for cultural and community connection – connection that has been impacted due to this year’s ‘unprecedented’ circumstances,” Mr Brogan said. “The value of the showcase, originally conceived pre-COVID-19, has in fact grown in importance. It offers an opportunity for artists who are seeking news ways to reach audiences, and for the community who have been feeling the impacts of cultural and social isolation.”

Online OnCountry Gallery will also create a register of Aboriginal artists – a database enabling ongoing professional employment opportunities for artists. It will create a platform for cultural exchange, and a marketplace that will benefit Aboriginal artists across the region.

“Some artists have been forced to leave this region (or work in other industries) to find employment and/or audiences,” said Mr Brogan. “Online OnCountry Gallery can bring their work back to Country.”

‘Online OnCountry Gallery: An exhibition of Aboriginal Contemporary Artists’ opens 6pm, Wednesday 11 November 2020. The exhibition and links to a program of video artist talks will be available online at taragara.org

‘Online OnCountry Gallery’ is a cultural initiative that has been created in partnership between Community and Taragara Aboriginal Corporation. This project is funded by the NSW Government through Create NSW and is supported by the University of New England.

World-renowned artist to weave with Bourke Elders and young people, Yarning Online OnCountry

Aunty Ellen Trevorrow and Jelina Haines On Country

Ngarrindjeri Elder Ellen Trevorrow will be weaving and yarning online with Elders and young people in Bourke as part of the Yarning Online OnCountry project.

Aunty Ellen is a world-renowned artist and cultural weaver. Her woven works and sculptures are exhibited around the world.

She leads weaving and cultural storytelling workshops in collaboration with Jelina Haines on the Ngarrindjeri Country at Camp Coorong in South Australia. For this project, though, she will be Online On Country.

“We are very excited and grateful that Aunty Ellen will join us Online OnCountry,” said Lorina Barker, Yarning Online OnCountry Project Manager.

“She is a Senior Knowledge Holder, highly regarded artist and weaver. The opportunity to meet and learn from Aunty Ellen is very special.”

The Yarning Online OnCountry project began in August. Since then, Elders and others in the Bourke community who have a shared history and experience, have been gathering weekly in small, socially distanced groups in Bourke – and via zoom.

“The online creative workshops aim to improve Elders’ health and wellbeing by minimizing the impacts of social isolation due to COVID-19 restrictions,” Dr Barker said.

“Importantly, though, the workshops are providing a culturally safe place for sharing knowledge, stories and skills – enabling the transference of cultural knowledge between Elders and extended family.”

‘Yarning Online OnCountry’ has been created in partnership between Community and Taragara Aboriginal Corporation. This project is funded by the NSW Government through Create NSW. It has received funding from Western Local Land Services NSW and is supported by the University of New England.

Special thanks to local partners Maranguka Community Hub, Bourke Aboriginal Health Service and Morralls Bakery for their support of this project.

Online OnCountry artist spotlight: Warwick Keen

Images from ‘the TERRA within’ exhibition, Shoalhaven Regional Gallery. Details in post.

“The ‘Online OnCountry Gallery – an exhibition of Aboriginal Contemporary Artists’ will celebrate the work of Aboriginal artists across NSW in a new digital format for NAIDOC Week 2020, curated and directed by UNE researchers Michael Brogan and Dr Lorina Barker.

The initiative aims to connect, raise the profile and support the work of artists across the state.

Online OnCountry exhibitor Warwick Keen, an award-winning artist from the Gomeroi (Gamilaraay) language group, will curate an exhibition, ‘the TERRA within‘ at the Shoalhaven Regional Gallery from 10 October … “

Read the full post here

“Bourke Elders Yarning Online OnCountry”, The Western Herald (26 August, 2020)

Barbara Kelly, Nancy Kelly, Lacey Barker, Gwen Barker, Gertie Darrigo and Dot Martin – weaving as part of the Yarning Online OnCountry project. Photo by Sandra Kelly.

“Aboriginal Elders from Bourke will be Yarning Online OnCountry as part of a new creative project that will provide a culturally safe place for sharing knowledge, stories and skills, while aiming to improve Elders’ health and wellbeing by minimizing the impacts of social isolation …” Read more HERE

Bourke Elders Yarning Online OnCountry

Aboriginal Elders will be Yarning Online OnCountry as part of a new creative project that will provide a culturally safe place for sharing knowledge, stories and skills, while aiming to improve Elders’ health and wellbeing by minimizing the impacts of social isolation.

“Opportunities to gather in person, have been drastically limited due to COVID-19 restrictions,” said Yarning Online OnCountry Project Manager, Lorina Barker.

“While the restrictions are necessary to ensure the safety of our Elders and our communities, the increased isolation has impacted health and wellbeing. Elders are missing the chance to participate in their usual activities – and to gather with extended family and friends.”

Dr Barker is a Wangkumara/Muruwari oral historian, filmmaker and storyteller from Bourke. For many years, she has worked alongside Elders in community projects OnCountry. COVID-19 has forced them to devise new ways of working.

Yarning Online OnCountry provides a culturally safe place for Elders, and others in the Bourke community who have a shared history and experience, to gather online,” she said.

Online creative workshops will be offered to mitigate the social isolation and loneliness being keenly felt due to COVID-19 restrictions; and enable the transference of cultural knowledge between Elders and extended family.”

It is hoped that this creative project will promote wellness, and relieve anxiety, depression and loneliness. And that it will support the maintenance of Elders’ connectedness to people and place, with stories and memories.

The activities of the project will be facilitated by Elders who will be able to teach the next generation in their households the skills, traditional practices and stories of Country. They will be supported by specialist artists and OnCountry Coordinators.

“Yarning Circles, Deadly Feeds and Campfire Yarns will use weaving, artmaking, and bush tucker preparing/cooking led by individual Elders, to share skills and knowledge,” Dr Barker said.

“Extended families will support Elders to share their stories of growing up in Bourke, with its racial discrimination and enforced separation of Aboriginal people under colonisation. In this way, the project will support the re-establishment of the kinship networks that remain – while sharing and preserving creative and cultural skills/knowledge. It will contribute to reframing the contemporary narrative of Bourke – replacing it with a cultural history and the living histories of Aboriginal people.

‘Yarning Online OnCountry’ has been created in partnership between Community and Taragara Aboriginal Corporation. This project is funded by the NSW Government through Create NSW and supported by the University of New England.

Special thanks to local partners Maranguka Community Hub, Bourke Aboriginal Health Service and Morrall’s Bakery for their support of this project.