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Gindaymanha: play, to have fun

 A series of dolls made from sticks, leaves, wool and strings.

Gindaymanha: play, to have Fun, 2020
Murray Art Museum Albury
Image by Jeremy Weihrauch

Gindaymanha: play, to have fun was an exhibition of work created by students from Glenroy Public School, Table Top Public School, and Hume Public School, as part of Home, an arts and language education program.The Home program was a partnership between The Arts Unit, NSW Department of Education and the Art Gallery of New South Wales and local Wiradjuri Community, in association with Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA).

The works presented in this exhibition were the result of student workshops with Wiradjuri artist Bethany Thornber. In her practice Thornber experiments with the melding of natural and manufactured materials; such as sticks, leaves, plastic and wool. The wall mounted works were Bush Dolls assembled using Eucalyptus twigs, sticks and leaves, wool, and yarn. These objects have been useful in what has been a challenging year as a reminder to us of the importance of being resourceful and to Gindaymanha (Play and to have Fun) through our creativity.

My Pop, Larry, described to me as a child the toys he used to make along the Lachlan river. He and his mother, Esther, along with his eleven brothers and sisters lived in a large canvas tent near the river. Buying things that were “new” was often unattainable and so the kids learnt to make their toys from the bush. Tales of their childhood spent riding stick horses and pulling along toy trains made from rusty cans reminded me of the ingenuity and resourcefulness inherent in a child’s mind. These bush dolls remind me of those toys my Pop would make.“Bethany Thornber

Throughout the year via the Home program students were given the opportunity to virtually engage with arts, language, and culture.

Students explored the works of Michael Riley, Lorraine Connelly-Northey, Karla Dickens, the Euraba Artists and Papermakers and Roy Kennedy through the MAMA collection and the Home education resource.

Students also enjoyed a virtual excursion to AGNSW and virtual art making lesson with Wiradjuri artist Karla Dickens who delivered a collage lesson engaging with the story of Con Colleano an Aboriginal man who achieved fame as an acclaimed tightrope walker in the 1920s and 1930s, “The Australian Wizard of the Wire”.

The Home program was offered again in 2021 to schools in the Wiradjuri language area. Once again it was hosted by MAMA in association with program partners The Arts Unit, NSW Department of Education, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and local Wiradjuri Community.