Year long community Aboriginal art exhibition to be unveiled at York Festival

Hand-built clay sculptures, a large painted map and stop-motion animated stories come together to show the history of York from a Noongar perspective.

The Community Arts Network has created the exhibition which aims to enrich the history of York by sharing personal stories through creative mediums. 

Local elder Merle Narkle Goodwin said the Noongar community have played a role in the building of York.

“The Noongar farm workers stories are not just important to the Noongar community, they are important to the whole town,” she said.

Artist-participant Audrey Nettle said there’s a lot of history people know know about.

“”People don’t know what life was like on the Reserve,” she said.

“It was a couple of kilomteres out of time and it was called the Native Reserve.”

The exhibition, Clay Boodja, is the work of a year-long community art workshop program under the Rekindling Stories on Country program by the Community Arts Network.

Community Arts Network general manager Monica Kane said the exhibition has the ability to change peoples perspective of the town of York.

“Clay Boodja will give people to a chance to see York and surrounds through the eyes of some of the town’s Noongar and Ballardong population, both young and old,” she said.

“These works and the stories that inspire them will add to the richness of York’s history as WA’s first inland town.”

Some of the farm sculptures are made from locally sourced clay – the same clay that was once used to make the bricks that built the town.

Other clay will be placed on a large hand painted map creating a unique diorama of York.

The piece will be acompanied by an animated film featuring the stories behind each clay scene.

Students from York Senior High School also share their perspectives of the town in mexed media collages. 

Clay Boodja will be installed in a vacant shop on the main street of York, 110 Avon Terrace from 8 September  to 7 October.