Aboriginal art display sparks tales of Australia

The picture which has been donated to the exhibition.
The picture which has been donated to the exhibition.

An exhibition of Aboriginal art has sparked interest from South Tynesiders with Aussie links.

The exhibition, about the Aboriginal concept of ‘Country’, opened last month at Bede’s World, Jarrow, as part of the Treasures of South Tyneside 2015 programme.

Prints, on loan from the British Museum, created by four Australian artists, are shown alongside art on the same theme produced by North East artists.

However, since the exhibition’s launch, the museum has welcomed visitors from across the region, keen to contribute personal items for the display.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the interest in this,” said Mike Benson, director at Bede’s World.

“From the outset there was significant public interest in the exhibition, but gradually local residents began to approach us with their own Australian artwork.

“One lady has donated a painting to the exhibition (pictured above) that was given to her by her sister, who emigrated on the £10 assisted passage scheme to Australia in 1966.

“She began working in Nubala Nunga hospital, outside of Derby, in the Kimberly region of Western Australia and was given this painting by an elderly patient who used to sit outside every day and paint landscape pictures from memory.

“The very day after giving her this gift he left the hospital, never to be seen again, but she brought the painting back to England on a visit, from her home, about 100 miles from Perth, in the 1970s and it has remained in the family ever since.

“This is just one story among many we have heard from those who have asked to share their artwork with us – it seems South Tyneside’s links with Australia run very deep.”

The prints on loan from the British Museum are the work of Aboriginal artists Judy Watson, Butcher Cherel, Victor Motlop and Dorothy Napangardi.

The work of a number of local artists and craftspeople is also on display at the Contemporary Prints from Indigenous Australia exhibition at Bede’s World, which runs until August 31.