Exhibitions celebrate canoe making and art from Vanuatu

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Exhibitions celebrate canoe making and art from Vanuatu

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Published on 2 July 2015

Exhibitions that celebrate the canoe-making skills of the Kabi Kabi/Gubbi Gubbi people and the print-making artistry of villagers in Vanuatu will open at the University of the Sunshine Coast Gallery on Thursday 9 July.

The first exhibition, Gubbi Gubbi Gun'doo Yang'ga'man, began as a research and reconstruction project that revisited the skills and traditions of bark canoe making. It will be officially opened at 6.30pm by USC’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill.

USC Gallery Curator Dawn Oelrich said the exhibition highlights the work of canoe builders Lyndon Davis, Brent Miller, Nathan Morgan and Kerry Jones, professional historian, researcher and writer Ray Kerkhove, filmmaker and photographer James Muller of Earth Base Productions and local curator and photographer John Waldron.

"Gubbi Gubbi Gun'doo Yang'ga'man is a Sunshine Coast Council initiative supported by the Sunshine Coast Heritage Levy," Ms Oelrich said. "The exhibition documents the activities of this nationally significant project with enormous value for the community."

The second exhibition, AWIS - Artis Blong Vanuatu, has been provided by Ona and Arthur Filloy with the support of Andrew Baker Art Dealer in Brisbane. It presents a series of beautiful and colourful prints from the Mataso village artists group in Vanuatu.

Ms Oelrich said the exhibition was being held to raise awareness and funds for the village which was devastated by the powerful category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam in March.

"The USC Gallery is hoping to purchase 10 prints with the help of crowd funding and any donations received will be directed to the Mataso Community Relief Fund," she said.

"The Ni-Vanuatu did not have much to start with, but Cyclone Pam flattened everything and contaminated their water supplies. Rebuilding continues as the infrastructure was damaged and the community is struggling.

"Luckily the artists produced the prints before the storm. Arthur and Ona were able to get them to Australia to safety and now we have the opportunity to see their charming prints.

"Our amazing student group FRANK About Art is assisting with a crowd-funding project to enable us to support the villagers by buying 10 of the artworks for the USC Art Collection."

Both exhibitions will continue at the USC Gallery until Saturday 15 August. The gallery is located at the University campus on Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs. It is open free to the public from 10am to 4pm Monday to Saturday and closed Sundays and public holidays.

— Terry Walsh

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