THIS weekend will be a historic one for the region, with the Bundian Way Gallery opening in Delegate, on Saturday, December 1.
The Bundian Way is a shared history pathway that connects the highest part of the continent and the coast via an ancient Aboriginal route.
The route brought together the people of the greater region, most notably for ceremonies associated with whaling in springtime at Twofold Bay and
moth hunting in the high country during summer.
Delegate is the only town on the original ancient track and is thus an important site for the overall project, which sees the route being recognised with heritage protection and used for educational/tourism purposes.
Aboriginal Elder, Pastor Ossie Cruse, notes how Delegate lies at the midpoint of the route between the high country and the coast.
He believes the gallery will be the hub of the Bundian Way, a centre that demonstrates the depth of culture and high quality of the artwork produced by the Aboriginal people of the region.
The gallery will be an Aboriginal and Community Arts Centre managed by the Delegate Progress Association under the overall project of the Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council.
The gallery will also function as an information centre for the Bundian Way.
“The opening of the gallery is an amazing opportunity,” says John Blay, Bundian Way Project Officer.
“Not only does the gallery highlight the heritage elements of the Bundian Way, it also throws light on the ongoing cultural connections to the land and sea country of the Aboriginal people of the region. This is reflected in their art. The art expresses country.
“The gallery is situated in the most beautiful building of Delegate. It will make a very special place. And it has all come about through the generosity and dedication of the Delegate Progress Association.
“How fantastic that a community group can combine expertise with the Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council to produce such a showplace for art.”
The artists exhibiting work in the gallery will be Cheryl Davison, Don Atkinson and Lee Cruse.
“We are indeed lucky to find such a distinguished group of artists to be represented at the opening of the region’s first dedicated Aboriginal art gallery,” Mr Blay said.
“Cheryl Davison’s work is luminous in showing its experience of the land, and has a well-deserved national standing.
“Don Atkinson’s work brings to mind traditional local culture, it has remarkable focus that results in distinguished works of art.
“Lee Cruse’s paintings are like fireworks, they explode with an intensity all their own.”
The opening itself will take place at 2pm tomorrow, December 1 in the Delegate RTC, where an opening address will be given by Mark McKenna, one of Australia’s leading historians.
Mayor Bob Stewart will also open the Borderline Gallery after the Bundian Way ceremony, giving those who attend a chance to enjoying artworks from the immediate local area as well.