Wayne Ridgeway is very happy with his painting, Dunghutti Totem, which is part of the Balund-a Deadly Arts exhibition in Lismore.
Wayne Ridgeway is very happy with his painting, Dunghutti Totem, which is part of the Balund-a Deadly Arts exhibition in Lismore.

Learning the art of culture

The 3 Rivers Art Space is currently showing Balund-a Deadly Arts.

This exhibition showcases the artworks of young men who are part of Balund-a – the diversionary program of the Community Offenders Service in Tabulam.

Balund-a is a live-in, six-month series of programs aimed at reducing re-offending.

One of those programs introduces residents to cultural art with Elders and Indigenous painters meeting with the residents and imparting their cultural sense of self through art.

“The best thing about this partnership between Balund-a and 3 Rivers Art Space is that once these artists have finished their time at Balund-a, this gallery can fill the gap in activities,” Indigenous arts business manager Sara Twigg-Patterson said at the exhibition opening last Friday. “They can come here to pursue their art careers; they can use 3 Rivers as a studio – somewhere to paint. Their art practice can help their re-engagement with society.”

He’s been at Balund-a for a six weeks and it’s the first time in his young life he’s been exposed so intensely to the art of his culture. He’s chuffed with the resultant paintings.

“I’ve not done art before, “ he said, “and I’ve definitely never exhibited before. I like it out at Tabulam,” this Kempsey boy (Dunghutti tribe) said. “It’s a nice place. It’s quiet. I’ve done a couple of the courses. They’ve been good. I reckon I’ll keep going with the painting, though. I really like it.”

You can see Wayne’s work and that of other Balund-a artists at the 3 Rivers Art Space in Magellan Street, Lismore, until April 30.


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