A MILESTONE for the community of Coffs – that’s what Tori Donnelly feels about her appointment as a First Nations curator to lead the development and delivery of one of the first exhibits to open in the new Yarrila Arts and Museum ( YAM).
Tori will curate Yaam Gumbaynggirr Jagun: Here is Gumbaynggirr Country, the working title of the exhibition.
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After a competitive process, Tori Donnelly has been selected and will work with Gumbaynggirr artists to bring this to life.
“I believe being appointed to this position is important both in a professional and cultural practice,” Tori told News Of The Area.
“Being on Gumbaynggirr country and putting on this show exclusively for Gumbaynggirr performers is a reflection of the cultural protocols that we strongly follow as a community.
“The Gumbaynggirr artists really know how to put art where it counts.
“My love for the arts really stems from my fellow artists Gumbaynggirr and how they can interpret contemporary and historical stories in their professional practice,” she said.
“As the people of Gumbaynggirr, we are actually perfectly placed in this area.
“We form a fraction of the oldest living culture and our arts, our language, our dance and our ceremony are proof of this, we still practice all this but in a contemporary way.
“It shows philosophical, spiritual and practical value and as artists produce new work for this exhibition, I think a lot of the Coffs community will see our story in the works,” he said. she declared.
In this exhibition, Tori will work with top Gumbaynggirr artists from across the country.
“I think the title explains the memoir: this is Gumbaynggirr country… what does it mean and how will the artist interpret the property?” she said.
Tori Donnelly is an experienced artist and curator with ties to both Gumbaynggirr and Bundjalung country.
Awarded Young Artist of the Year in 2018, her works embrace both traditional and contemporary artistic practices while expressing her spiritual and cultural beliefs.
Currently working at the Yarrawarra Aboriginal Cultural Center in Corindi Beach, Tori has made a significant contribution to the cultural fabric of the Gumbaynggirr region, having been involved in curating exhibitions such as ‘Salt Water Fresh Water’ for the Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance, and as an artist who contributed to the ‘White Bluff Project’ for the Coffs Harbor Regional Gallery.
Chris Chapman, Director of Sustainable Communities for the Council, said; “This is a very important art exhibition for the town of Coffs, so I’m delighted we were able to find someone of Tori’s expertise and reputation in the Gumbaynggirr community.
“I’m sure what she will be able to achieve with our local First Nations artists will wow us all as we walk through the doors of the Yarrila Arts and Museum for the first time.”
Yaam Gumbaynggirr Jagun: Here is Gumbaynggirr Country is a separate project from the Gumbaynggirr Art Trail which will run through the new building and bring the various public spaces to life.
By Andrea FERRARI