Weaving Sustainable Culture: Installation
Boon Wurrung artist Mitch Mahoney and Yorta Yorta artist Donna Blackall present a unique series of eco-sculptures, developed at FCAC by over 200 community members. Culminating in the form of canoes and woven fishing nets, these sculptures represent the six seasons of the Kulin Nations using Indigenous grasses and plants.
Led by the artists, this installation is inspired by the Kulin Nation waterway protectors, Balayang (Fruit Bat) and Waa (Crow). The sculptures, in consultation with Elders and First Nations designers and environmental scientists, will pilot the revegetation of the Maribyrnong River as a way to increase biodiversity and reconnect local communities with Indigenous culture and sustainable practice.
Join us for a smoking ceremony, a performance by Pirritu (Brett Lee), and a night of celebration as these eco-sculptures become part of FCAC’s public works.
WHEN: Launch – Friday, 16 April. 6 – 9pm
Exhibition – 17 April – 30 May
VENUE: FCAC Foyer and Rose Garden
Meet the Artists
Mitch Mahoney is a young emerging Boon Wurrung artist who has a passion for marine biology and transdisciplinary creative practice. He has a Diploma of Visual Arts from Hunter TAFE School of Arts, received a scholarship for the National Gallery of Australia Summer Arts School and participated in Arts Development training at Museums Victoria. Mahoney has produced commissioned artworks for Life Without Barriers (2014), Wingecarribee Shire Council (2014), the Koorie Heritage Trust (2015), Linuwell Steiner School (2016) and Knox City Council (2018). He has also worked with the Canadian Council of the Arts to collaborate on a cultural infusion project to mark the 150th year of Canadian confederation as part of Wrapped in Culture in 2017. His recent exhibitions include Translating Tradition at Canberra Glassworks and Science Gallery Melbourne’s DISPOSABLE Eel Trap – a 10-metre installation inspired by traditional Aboriginal eel traps and made of river reeds from the local area, installed on the Maribyrnong River.
Donna Blackall is a Yorta Yorta weaver living on Wauthurung country in Ballarat. Donna has been weaving for over 10 years and was taught by Gunditjmara woman and master weaver Bronwyn Razem. Donna uses a satin stitch basketweave technique to create traditional pieces as well as her own designs.
‘As a proud Aboriginal woman, I believe the more we learn about our Indigenous ancestors in Australia, the more we can help people understand the country that we live on and the importance of maintaining a sustainable way of life for all Australians, and future generations to come’ — Donna Blackall.
Weaving Sustainable Culture is a First Nations Art/Science commission and research residency, presented by FCAC in partnership with Science Gallery Melbourne (SGM). The program includes mentorship by FCAC Elders-in-Residence Uncle Larry Walsh and N’arweet Carolyn Briggs AM (Boon Wurrung) and Indigenous academics at The University of Melbourne. Supported by Australian Government Department of Industry Innovation and Science, Department of Environment and Energy, and City West Water.
Weaving Sustainable Culture workshop, 2021. Image by Jacinta Keefe.