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Too-roo-dun exhibition celebrates the Bunyip

Published on 29 January 2019
  • Arts and culture

You’re invited to a uniquely immersive and imagined exhibition celebrating the Bunyip, as part of Too-roo-dun, now on at Maroondah Federation Estate Gallery.

Local Aboriginal communities have come together to create this unique, family-friendly exhibition featuring life-size sculptures inspired by the stories surrounding the Bunyip.

‘Too-roo-dun’ is a Boonwurrung word for ‘Bunyip’, which is a word from the Wathawurrung language of the Kulin Nation of Central Victoria.

Nine re-imagined Bunyips and their stories and soundscapes will be on display, each influenced by contemporary interpretations of ancestral stories surrounding mythological beasts.

Sometimes quirky and playful, these sculptural creatures are made up of kelp, oaten, paperbark, alpaca wool, feathers, fibre, seeds, teeth, bones, as well as a combination of traditional and contemporary materials, such as chicken wire, plastic bones, linoleum tiles, and even a re-purposed outdoor umbrella stand.

One of the artworks, TAM-BOR-E, is the collective portrayal of the Bunyip by Maroondah-based Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place artists Tori Cassidy, Cora Green, Aunty Daphne Milward, Aunty Irene Norman, Uncle Vincent Peters, Michael Nichols and Amanda (Gypsy) Wright.

MMIGP Elder Aunty Irene Norman says the name for the Bunyip – Tam-bor-e – is the Wurundjeri (Woiwurrung) name for waterhole.

TAM-BOR-E‘s shape is based on Aunty Daphne Milward’s concept of what a Bunyip might look like as per the traditional stories of her people, the River (waterholes) people of the Yorta Yorta, that warn children to not go near the river/waterhole on their own or the BUNYIP WILL GETCHA!!!,” she explains.

The large hypnotic eyes at the top of the Bunyip’s head are there so that potential prey may be seen, while its long tail acts as an anchor as its crayfish-like claws firmly grab hold of its next meal.

Developed by Baluk Arts, Too-roo-dun brings together seven south-east Melbourne Aboriginal communities: Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place, Winja Ulupna Womens Recovery Cenre, Healesville Indigenous Community Services Association, Willum Warrain Aboriginal Gathering Place, Casey Yarn & Art Group and Bunjilwarra Koori Youth Alcohol and Drug Healing Service.

The exhibition runs until Friday 29 March 2019, at Maroondah Federation Estate Gallery (formerly Maroondah Access Gallery), 32 Greenwood Avenue, Ringwood.

Exhibition celebration event

Join us for the exhibition launch of Too-roo-dun on Thursday 7 February 2019, from 6pm to 7.30pm.

Following an Acknowledgement of Country by Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place artist and Elder, Aunty Irene Norman, the Mayor, Cr Rob Steane will launch the exhibition.

Prominent Indigenous elder, actor and activist Uncle Jack Charles will feature as special guest speaker.

To RSVP, email or phone 9298 4553.

Mini Bunyip Making Workshop

Come along and create your very own ‘mini bunyip’ made from hay and wool, led by artists from Baluk Arts and inspired by the Too-roo-dun exhibition.

When: Saturday 23 February 2019, 2pm to 4pm.
Where: Maroondah Federation Estate Gallery, 32 Greenwood Avenue, Ringwood. All materials provided. Suitable for ages 6 and over
Cost: $5.

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