A new exhibition at the Sawtooth Ari art gallery provides a platform for the voices of three palawa/pakana artists to showcase their work which explores their contemporary and personal relationships to lutruwita.
The muddy banks of kanamaluka was developed in consideration of NAIDOC week and its theme Always Was, Always Will Be.
Uterine Bag Series 2020 is one of the works on show and is situated in Gallery C. The work by Brisbane based artist Mandy Quadrio is a "fertile expression and acknowledgment of the unborn of many palawa women".
"These unborn along with many palawa women, were taken from us," she said.
"Into the membranous vessels I pour my stories. Some stories are held, some leak out and some are unformed. As I form these bags I'm left with many unanswered questions."
The artist said the choice to make the forms from steel wool was deliberate as it is a harsh, abrasive, metallic material that she uses as a metaphor for "scrubbing away" and "erasure".
"It makes reference to that attempted erasure of palawa women from the landscape and how we have, even still today, been rendered invisible.
"Our validity and presence is still questioned."
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Though Quadrio works across a range of mediums, steel wool is one of her signature materials because it can show the narrative of erasure.
Sharing the stories and history of her people is very important to the artist.
"I'm always putting that story out but I'm also asserting our presence because palawa people, there's always been this pervasive myth that we are extinct."
Sawtooth Ari director Liam James said it is really important to the organisation and to him personally that they represent palawa artists in their program and continue to do so during the year, not just in conjunction with NAIDOC.
"It's an ongoing and year long conversation."
James said one of the themes that comes across in all three shows is the idea of contemporary living and "what it is to be me now" for the palawa/pakana artists.
"There is a huge sense of trauma throughout all of [the works] even though that might not come across on the surface."
The exhibition opened November 20 and will run until January with a small period of closure due to Christmas.
James said next year's program is still under wraps but to stay tuned.