Landmark Newcastle Art Gallery exhibition receives national recognition

Landmark Newcastle Art Gallery exhibition receives national recognition

A Newcastle Art Gallery exhibition that showcased works of art never before seen outside of the Torres Strait was last year announced as the winner of the Promoting Indigenous Recognition Award at the National Local Government Awards.

Newcastle Art Gallery’s WARWAR: The Art of Torres Strait, exhibition on display from May until August 2021, focused on the Torres Strait Islander (TSI) culture and its launch coincided with the raising of the TSI flag at City Hall for the first time in the building’s 92-year history.

Newcastle Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes said the national recognition of the landmark exhibition acknowledges the importance of connecting with local communities and raising cultural awareness through art.

WARWAR: The Art of Torres Strait was four years in the making and we are thrilled that the most significant First Nations exhibition project in Newcastle Art Gallery’s 64-year history has received this national accolade,” she said.

“To further strengthen our city’s ties to the local TSI community, we raised the TSI flag at City Hall for the first time in a special ceremony the week before the exhibition opened, and it now remains there permanently.

“Visitors from across Australia came to Newcastle specially to see this important exhibition for our city.”

Newcastle Art Gallery Director, Lauretta Morton was thrilled the popular exhibition had received a national accolade.

“Having recently won the Museums and Galleries NSW IMAGINE Award judged by industry peers, we are beyond thrilled and so grateful to have now been recognised nationally for this incredible exhibition project,” Lauretta said

“With over 130 works of art, many from major Australian institutions and the Torres Strait Islands that have never been publicly displayed before, the exhibition provided an incredible opportunity for our local TSI community and visitors to experience and gain a new appreciation and understanding of TSI culture here in Newcastle.”

The award-winning WARWAR: The Art of Torres Strait was developed in collaboration with highly awarded Torres Strait Islander artist and curator Brian Robinson, local artist and traditional performer Toby Cedar and timed to coincide with significant dates such as Mabo Day, Reconciliation Day, Coming of the Light and NAIDOC Week.

The exhibition, which was presented in in English, Kala Lagaw Ya (Western TSI), and Meriam Mir (Eastern TSI) languages, showcased the evolution and strength of Torres Strait Islander tradition and society through arts practitioners from the 19th century and the emergence of the contemporary art traditions of today, and explored issues of cultural maintenance, Christianity, language, and the impact of globalisation on the physical environment of the Torres Strait Islands.

A partnership with the local TSI community and the University of Newcastle gave visitors the chance to immerse themselves in an innovative Augmented Reality experience and education space design that shared important cultural traditions such as language and Torres Strait Island connection to land, sea, and sky.

The exhibition title, WARWAR, is a traditional Eastern Island word in the Meriam Mer language, which translates into English as ‘marked with a pattern’.

The National Local Government Awards recognise the best Australian local government achievements and highlight innovative and resourceful solutions implemented by local governments, which make a difference to their local communities.

A full list of 2021 award winners is available online here.

IMAGE | Opening event WARWAR: The Art of Torres Strait Newcastle Art Gallery 29 May 2021

City of Newcastle

In 2030, Newcastle will be a smart, liveable and sustainable city.

Council developed and adopted a suite of strategic documents to guide delivery of Council's seven key strategic directions, outlined in the Newcastle 2030 Community Strategic Plan.

  •  A Connected City
  •  A Protected and Enhanced Environment
  •  Vibrant and Activated Public Places
  •  A Caring and Inclusive Community
  •  A Liveable and Distinctive Built Environment
  •  A Smart and Innovative City
  •  Open and Collaborative Leadership

This planning strategy has assisted in the delivery of a City Revitalisation Program that has encouraged a large investment in the City by both Government and private investors that are willing to prove that Newcastle is ready for change.   

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