The art of connecting

SOUTH COAST TALENT: Sherrie Nye, with one of her artworks at the Wangganga Aboriginal Art Exhibition in Mogo on Saturday.
SOUTH COAST TALENT: Sherrie Nye, with one of her artworks at the Wangganga Aboriginal Art Exhibition in Mogo on Saturday.

Anyone who grew up with a strong mum will know the power of women’s groups, and Wangganga Aboriginal Art is no exception.

The group – that started as a creative outlet for Aboriginal women –  is nurturing local talent, and extending its support network to other health initiatives. They held an exhibition to promote Disability Awareness Week, from December 1 to December 3, at the Mogo Aboriginal Lands Council. Coordinator Jodie Rose-Cotter explained how the group grew: “We started it for social and emotional health and wellbeing.”

The women have been painting like crazy, and this is the result

Jodie Rose-Cotter

“We’ve been doing it for nearly a year and a half, and were asked to do an exhibition last year at the Botanic Gardens. We also had one at the River of Art. One of the ladies connected us with Ability Links, who wanted an exhibition for Disability Awareness Day. It’s to celebrate people with a disability, and their families. The women have been painting like crazy, and this is the result.”

“The result” is a room filled with diverse artwork, every artist’s personality resulting in a distinct style.

Another is a single mum who has a child with autism who just pumped out this beautiful work 'One day with Autism'.

Jodie Rose-Cotter

“These are women who haven’t painted for years, or have never painted at all, and just picked it up to help relieve stress,” Mrs Rose-Cotter said.

“Every single one has a story that just makes you go ‘wow’. We have some elders in our group, and one of them has painted stories passed down from her grandfather. Another is a single mum who has a child with autism who just pumped out this beautiful work One day with Autism.”

Mrs Rose-Cotter said the group worked on different levels. “It’s a good opportunity to meet people from different areas and have discussions about issues happening around us,” she said.

“It could be education, or  health – we talk about everything. It gets political, or it could be the silliest things.”

Mrs Rose-Cotter said the group was also preserving local art. “All the art works are made locally,” she said.

“These aren’t brought in from another area like the Northern Territory, Western Australia or China – these are literally South Coast stories and designs.

“We need more of this around.”