Andrew Doyle with three of his children at the opening of the indigenous Polo Shirt Design Competition exhibition at the Emerald Art Gallery on September 16.
Andrew Doyle with three of his children at the opening of the indigenous Polo Shirt Design Competition exhibition at the Emerald Art Gallery on September 16.

Indigenous artists share stories and culture through artworks

INDIGENOUS artists across the Central Highlands are sharing their stories as part of a regional art competition.

The indigenous Polo Shirt Design Competition exhibition opened at the Emerald Art Gallery on Wednesday, September 16, unveiling the work of three local indigenous entrants.

The winning artist will have their design reproduced on polo shirts which will be available for purchase the general public.

Each artwork is unique, sharing the Darryl Black, Camille Swallow and Andrew Doyle.

Central Highlands Regional Council arts and cultural officer, galleries, Nikki Pickering, said the competition was a great opportunity for indigenous artists to showcase their talent and share their stories.

“There’s so much meaning behind indigenous artwork and when you have the opportunity to read the story and see the artwork, it just brings so much more meaning to it,” she said.

“It’s a great way to express their culture and their own personal stories.”

Emerald entrant Andrew Doyle, 30, said his painting was based on the way he grew up.

The father of six has been involved in art for about 10 years, but only started getting serious about it three years ago.

“It’s relaxing, takes my mind off things and I get to teach my kids what I’ve learnt,” he said.

“It’s through the stories that we share our knowledge.”

Mr Doyle said the competition was a great way to shed light on the history of indigenous Australians.

“This is just to let the people know that were still here, living loud and proud.”

Camille Swallow with her artwork 'Yesterday', one of three entries for the indigenous Polo Shirt Design Competition.
Camille Swallow with her artwork 'Yesterday', one of three entries for the indigenous Polo Shirt Design Competition.

Camille Swallow, 52, who entered her artwork “Yesterday”, said she would have loved to see more aspiring indigenous artists get involved.

“It’s fantastic but I thought there would’ve been more artwork – I thought I’d see a whole range. But it’s great to see the art that is there.”

The mum of three is the youngest daughter of 12 children, and has portrayed what it was like growing up and how they survived.

She started painting about a year ago as a way to express her emotions.

“I was in a really bad place and decided to put all my pain onto a canvas and make it come to life.

“I feel better when im doing it and am telling a story of me and who I am.

“I love to bring them to life and show the beauty through them and not the pain.”

The exhibition will feature the entries as well as council’s indigenous artwork collection and interesting artefacts.

A written story by each artist complements their art pieces which reflects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

The winning artist will receive a cash prize of $1000 and a polo shirt featuring their artwork.

Members of the public can view the artworks at the Emerald Art Gallery until October 1.

Voting cards are available at all CHRC libraries, or view the entries through the council website and vote online.

Voting closes on Wednesday, September 23.



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