3 August–16 September 2023

Reinforcing the 2023 NAIDOC theme ‘For Our Elders’, inspired by coolamons created by Euphemia Bostock and informed by ADC’s Strategic Framework: First Nations Engagement, With Our Elders continues to celebrate Elders in our community.

Creative Producer Dakota Dixon, in consultation with Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative, Claypool and La Perouse Guriwal Elders group, developed a ceramics workshop program for With Our Elders.

Guriwal Elders visited us at ADC to yarn about the stories they told their kids and grandkids around growing up in La Perouse, and then to draw some of them up as designs for ceramic coolamons. They also spoke about issues in their communities and ways we could go about fixing broken systems.

“It was so beautiful to see the women draw stories about their family connections and their animal totems – all different and all an important part of their life and community” explained Dakota.

Through further workshops, the Elders painted their designs onto recycled clay ceramic coolamons. The results are beautiful and imbued with the artistic and cultural knowledge of this amazing group of women.

As the starting point was Euphemia Bostock’s work Boomalli Founding Members Coolamons (2012), the project centres around the form of the coolamon, traditionally carved from tree trunks and used to carry water, food and fire for smoking ceremonies. For this project the coolamons are made of the earth – clay.

Euphemia is a proud Bundjalung-Mununjali woman and Elder. She is a founding member of Boomalli Aboriginal Artist Co-operative and remains an active contributor, as an artist and Board member. During her extensive art career, she has worked across several mediums including textiles, printmaking, design, sculpture and ceramics.

Boomalli Ten Founding Member Coolamons were created for Boomalli's 25th Anniversary exhibition and together they signify the ten founding members of Boomalli Aboriginal Artist’s Co-operative: Euphemia Bostock, Dr. Bronwyn Bancroft, Brenda L Croft, Fiona Foley, Tracey Moffatt, Fern Martins, Arone Meeks (1957–2021), Avril Quaill, Michael Riley (1960–2004) and Jeffrey Samuels.

Key drivers for the Co-operative were recognition of their diverse artistic practices and stories, challenging preconceptions around urban-based Aboriginal art and creating a unique space for themselves within the contemporary art space.

For Boomalli’s 2021–22 exhibition Made with Love, Euphemia said of her work: ‘My love of working with clay and experimenting with glazes to create ceramics inspired by my cultural memory, family, nature and the people around me, led to the creation of my ten coolamons – each one representing and celebrating each of us ten Aboriginal artists who were the founding members of Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative.’

The projects, as a while, acknowledges and pays tribute to the important role of Elders in the community. By gathering the two groups of ceramic coolamons together, this exhibition beautifully captures stories proudly and generously shared by Elders, ensuring they are passed down to generations of family and community through continuous cultural practices.

Artists: Euphemia Bostock l Rene Campbell l Ali Golding l Honie Golding l Dorothy Taaffe with Dakota Dixon

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