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Story Waters: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sea stories from the Collection

More than sixty works from the Cairns Art Gallery’s Permanent Collection are now on display in a visually stunning exhibition titled Story Waters.

Together works in the exhibition explore different themes and traditional stories about ways in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples holistically value the historical, mythological and cultural significance of the ocean and the creatures that inhabit it.

More than twenty artists are represented in the exhibition with works across a range of media, including linocut prints, paintings, ghost net sculptures, masks, and headdresses. Each work is informed by traditional legends, spirit stories, totems and cultural lore, and each describes the cyclic importance of seasons for hunting and gathering sea life and timing journeys and travel.

Included in the exhibition installation is an area set aside for children’s activities with all materials supplied by the Gallery. For the young and the young at heart, the activity space encourages visitors to create woven sculptures and experiment with tying simple and complex knots that are used at sea.

At 2.00pm on Saturday 3 February, Gallery Curator Teho Ropeyarn will give a free, informative talk about the stories behind many of the works on display and also explain how traditional culture and lore are represented through different artist’s works.

Story Waters coincides with the announcement of an exciting new partnership between the Cairns Aquarium and the Cairns Art Gallery. As part of this partnership program, the Aquarium is hosting the first of the Gallery’s Kids Art Club events for the year, which will be held on Friday 19 January. Inspired by works in the Story Waters exhibition, and real marine creatures at the Aquarium, kids will work with local artist Hayley Gillespie to create their own artworks while learning about the natural habitat of various marine creatures, and the cultural significance of the ocean and its creatures for Indigenous peoples.

For more information about the Story Waters exhibition and the Gallery’s Kid’s Art Club with Hayley Gillespie contact the Gallery on 4046 4800.


Event starts
Monday 8 January, 2018
Event Ends
Sunday 11 February, 2018
Cairns Art Gallery
Venue Address
40 Abbott St

Queensland, Cairns City

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