Artwork: Ngaaru (Water) by Brentyn Lugnan, 61 x 91.5cm, ink and paint on canvas, 2019.
‘Online OnCountry’ is a new-concept online gallery that will showcase the work of five professional Aboriginal artists from across NSW.
Emerging as a response to the challenges of social and cultural distancing brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, artistic directors and UNE researchers Dr Michael Brogan and Dr Lorina Barker believe the concept will help safeguard cultural and artistic practice.
“This online space is a way of reclaiming our cultural and social practices and empowering our communities to continue doing what we’ve been doing for millennia, but in a future-focused and pandemic-proof format,” Lorina says.
The online gallery will tell the story and showcase the work of NSW artists with links to the Anaiwan, Gumbaynggirr, Gomeroi, and Dhunghutti Nations, and aims to support artists making a living from their art.
“It will demonstrate the dynamic nature of the cultural footprint for this region, and is about supporting the artists who carry on our traditions of visual storytelling in compelling and exciting ways,” Michael says.
“Each artist will have their own database and portfolio of work to promote to potential buyers, commissions and clients seeking contemporary Aboriginal artwork for private, agencies and public works.”
The ‘Online OnCountry Gallery – an exhibition of Aboriginal Contemporary Artists’ is a Taragara Aboriginal Corporation cultural initiative, funded by Create NSW through the Aboriginal artist quick response scheme and supported by the University of New England.
It will be officially launched for NAIDOC Week, this year postponed until 8-15 November.
Online OnCountry preview
Brentyn Lugnan is a contributing artist in the upcoming Online OnCountry exhibition for NAIDOC Week, and a proud Gumbaynggirr man from Urunga on the NSW North Coast. Following professional training in fine arts, he has worked as a graphic designer for television with SBS, an animator on ‘The Dreaming Series’ at Aboriginal Nations for the ABC and is co-founder of Bruz Design, clothing and graphics.
Brentyn has painted everything from trains to graves, and his public art appears across the interior of the Westpac building at Barangaroo, in Darling Harbour, and throughout the foyer of Coffs Harbour Court House. His artworks are also hung in private collections both nationally and internationally.
As well as contributing to Online OnCountry, Brentyn is preparing for a solo show, ‘Tradigital’, opening August 21 at the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery.
Below are a selection of Brentyn’s works that will be exhibited as part of Online OnCountry.
Ancient family modern times
Brentyn Lugnan, 100 x 76cm, Ink and paint on canvas, 2016
“A stylised version of gatherings on Gumbaynggirr country portrayed in reds to portray the ‘blood’ connections to this place. The background is a series of designs executed with spray paint. The juxtaposition of ancient symbology with modern materials design is my way of describing my living evolving culture.”
yurruun.ga.la 2 (I am from Urunga)
Brentyn Lugnan, 100 x 76cm, Ink and paint on canvas, 2020
“Urunga and the Bellingen Valley are the lands of my Gumbaynggirr ancestors. This piece is my representation of the spiritual, cultural and physical connection that exists to this place. Many groups of people can be seen with their connecting lines interspersed with my ‘web of connection’ design.”
Nunngu Jiinda (Kangaroo Sister)
Brentyn Lugnan, 100 x 76cm, Ink and paint on recycled canvas, 2017
“Part of a story I’m not at liberty to share, this piece shows two sisters on either side of the river. The river is lined by ancestors and has my ‘finger print’ motif to show connection to Gumbaynggirr country.”