In search of a landscape

The Serpentine Gallery in North Lismore is gearing up for its first solo exhibition, featuring the talents of local artist Shane Duniam. Entitled Reconciliation: a Journey of Spirit, the works were inspired by three years he spent in central Australia with his partner. He said they left Brisbane as disaffected city-dwellers embarking on a desert change, rather than a sea change.

We did a dry change and ended up staying three years, he said.

They landed in Alice Springs but ended up in the remote township of Mimili, three hours south-east of Uluru. Here Shane got a job reviving a failed womens centre, transforming it into a working art centre with 80 people on the books.

Mimili has a population of 250 and English is a second, third, or sometimes even a fourth language.

Its a place thats exceedingly marginalised and going through huge cultural change, he said.

The town is surrounded by mountains, reminiscent of the red granite rock of Uluru, the Devils Marbles north of Alice and Katatjuta (the Olgas).

The ranges were like those three combined, he said. It was fantastic unbelievably beautiful. And green with mulga trees (wattles) and red river gums. I expected a big dry dust bowl.

It was during this time that Shane first met someone from the stolen generation and discovered his own Aboriginal heritage. His father emailed him and told him that years ago Shanes grandmother had confided that her father had been a quarter caste from north Queensland.

Thats what they called them in those days, said Shane. My father had known this all of our lives, but never told us. It changed my whole experience of being there. I think it just opened me and made me try and soak up as much as possible. This exhibition is my response to the landscape and the journey Ive been on.

The Serpentine Gallery is at 17a Bridge Street, (next to the Winsome Hotel) and Shanes exhibition opens at 6pm tomorrow, Friday, February 16.

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