Archive for June 23rd, 2013

Rock art gallery

Sydney is “one of the largest outdoor rock art galleries in the world”.

So says Aboriginal heritage manager David Watts, in The challenge is how to care for the art. If left unmarked they can degrade or even be destroyed – accidentally or through environmental factors. Call attention to them and they may be vandalised.

Last week mum and I went to a talk last week by a woman from the Aboriginal Heritage Office ( In one sense it was information I’d heard before. I have a certain familiarity with aboriginal rock art in Sydney – mum has always had an interest, and she took us to out-of-the-way places when we were young and showed us art to marvel at, a heritage to admire. The photo shows me, my brothers and my grandma visiting from the UK, with a carving on the rock in front of us. And no, it’s not an acceptable thing in today’s world to walk or sit on the rock. Our ignorance and enthusiasm at the time.


A dilly bag. One of the display items at the talk.

On the other hand the talk was new because it was personal to the speaker – it was her family, she was sorry not to know more about her ancestors and the meaning of art which is her heritage. She wasn’t particularly blaming us – just telling us the situation and wanting us to understand some of our history, the impact and current challenges.

In August I have a trip and a class which may start breaking down my ignorance. Apart from saying “sorry” I haven’t known how to act. This is really a “keep myself honest” post. I need to learn more.

OCA day trip

A few weeks ago the Sydney-ish OCA students got together for a day trip to Mittagong, a couple of hours drive south.

barbara_rogers_01Our stated goal was Parallels, an exhibition of Barbara Rogers’ work at the Sturt Gallery. Barbara is well known for her work in shibori. In this exhibition she explores the stripe, through a wide variety of shibori techniques, layering, and a little stitching.

barbara_rogers_02Barbara chose silk – organza and charmeuse – for all the work included here. She uses azoic dyes (in her documentation with the exhibition Barbara is clearly aware of and actively manages any health or environmental concerns).

The presentation of the resulting fabrics was beautiful. Lengths were layered and hung together suspended from the ceiling. Very simple and very effective. Walking around the room felt a little like walking through the dappled light in a forest – with some very unusual trees!

barbara_rogers_03The layering of the organza, creating combinations of patterns and moirĂ© effects, was fascinating. The gallery had shafts of natural light coming through the high windows, but unfortunately I don’t have a good photograph showing the magic that happened when the layers were backlit. Hopefully you can see the variety and interest that Barbara has been able to achieve using very simple geometric shapes – just lines and rectangles. Some really interesting rhythmic effects.

For me the highlight of the day wasn’t the exhibition, even though I found it intriguing and enjoyable. The real hit was spending time with my fellow students. Distance learning can be tough, so having the opportunity to chat with others who understand is incredibly valuable – energizing, supportive and fun. We’re hoping to set up semi-regular critiquing sessions, and having that direct, personal, (somewhat) objective input and discussion of our work could really help us each push ourselves.

For another take on the day see Claire’s blog entry of 14-June here, plus her entry of 21-June here where the experience has influenced some of her print assignment work.


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June 2013

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