Bowraville artists bringing colour to their town

Grants Hall in Bowraville has been working on a new look, starting with the entrance hall ...

Now when you arrive you are met by a magnificent mural painted by Gumbaynggirr artists Keene Ballangarry and Burke Stadhams.

The project flowed following grant funding from the Nambucca Shire Council, which the hall's management committee applied for.

"We thought something like this would put a smile on people's faces when they walked in ... it's cheery, local and relevant," committee member Elisabeth Mortimer said.

Keene said he was more than 'keen' to accept the offer when it was made.

"It's great to see my art in my home town in the main street," Keene told the Guardian from his home on the NSW South Coast.

This way we can show people who we are and show them our culture ... as well as holding it for ourselves.

Keene Ballangarry

He said the four panels from left to right touched on a number of dreamtime stories from the area.

"There is the land with the trees and the cliffs, the echidna and goanna in the first one, then there is the freshwater flowing in the second with the stringray and also the mullet on the run.

"In the third there is the saltwater meeting place at the old mill in Bowra and the fourth there is the young man/goanna ... the big mountain goanna is important bush tucker for us."

The huge carpet snake (Jumbaal), totem of the Bowraville clan, that winds its way throughout the panels was painted by Burke.

The hall is a community facility and can be booked for special events, dance classes and more - simply phone 0429 683 333.

Further down the street this journalist's eye was caught by the art in the window of Colour, Cloth, Clay, an handcraft artist co-operative.

Acrylic artist Kim Price-Adams is at work in the space, which is kept open by the artists who donate their time to help keep each other's creations in the public eye.

Inside walls are covered with sketches and paintings, the floor with metal sculptures ... works by Paul Miller. There are clothes in a second room, as well as more artifacts.

A few doors further and I'm stopped by the arresting display of Gallery 58a, an outlet of much-loved lantern couple Margrit Rickenback and Claude Teyssier, together with other artists.

The atmospheric space with masks and embroidered fabrics is open on Saturdays and includes work by jeweller and artist Donna Brown, as well as Uncle Martin Ballangarry.

Felt and silk artworks, some from a recent workshop Margrit and Donna ran out at Brewarrina offering relief to drought-affected families, add yet more colour and texture to the space.

Anyone wanting to volunteer to prolong opening hours is welcome - please call Margrit on 6564 7067.

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