The State Library of Queensland (SLQ), Queensland College of Art (QCA) and Griffith Centre for Creative Arts Research (GCCAR) are working together to produce a catalogue for the Art of the Skins exhibition which has shown at SLQ since June. This important and historic exhibition will close on Sunday 20 November. The catalogue will be launched by the Hon Leanne Enoch, the Queensland Government’s Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business at a closing ceremony on Friday 18th.
Carol McGregor is the project co-curator and lead researcher. Her catalogue essay explains how the research and the exhibition evolved from her interest in reviving the Aboriginal cultural practice of making and wearing possum-skin cloaks. She found that the cloaks and rugs were prevalent in South-East Queensland as well as in the southern States where the revival movement began two decades ago. Carol writes:
“Art of the Skins enables a continuation of cultural practices that connect to living culture whilst holding on to knowledges and inherited memory. It is an empowering form of un-silencing—asserting a voice and having continued presence in today’s world.”
She worked closely with Glennys Briggs to facilitate possum-skin cloak-making workshops with Indigenous communities on the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and in Brisbane. Carol and Glennys met as students enrolled in the Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art (CAIA) degree course at QCA.
By working together with staff from SLQ’s kuril dhagun, they incubated a remarkable collaboration between two unique Australian institutions: kuril dhagun is the only dedicated Indigenous space in any Australian State Library and QCA is the only Australian creative arts school to have a contemporary Indigenous arts degree (CAIA) and a dedicated space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
An on-line version of the catalogue will be available through SLQ’s website and through a link to Carol McGregor’s HDR Member profile on the GCCAR website, following its launch.