ART: Dungarimba Wandarahn (Lismore place of learning) by Craig Walsh is a multimedia work that celebrates Bundjalung language and history in the heritage-listed site. Below: Tweed artist Craig Walsh.
ART: Dungarimba Wandarahn (Lismore place of learning) by Craig Walsh is a multimedia work that celebrates Bundjalung language and history in the heritage-listed site. Below: Tweed artist Craig Walsh. Kate Holmes

Three-day immersive artwork will help you reflect on history

DUNGARIMBA Wandarahn (Lismore, Place Of Learning) is a major new artwork by digital artist Craig Walsh, commissioned by the Lismore Quad.

The work is inspired by the stories and recollections of Bundjalung Elder Aunty Irene Harrington.

She was one of the first Aboriginal students to attend Lismore High School in the 1950s - the building that is now the Lismore Library and Conservatory of Music.

Mrs Harrington lived on Cubawee mission in South Lismore, where she learnt her traditional Widjabul language and then went each day to Lismore High School where she says her language and culture was 'swept under the carpet'.

A large dome, constructed on the grass over a sand circle, will evoke traditional Bundjalung story, language and song.

Audiences are invited to experience the work lying down under the stars and listening, walking around each of the spaces, or sitting on a picnic rug.

The precinct will include fire pits, an outdoor bar, mulled wine and food.

 

Tweed artist Craig Walsh.
Tweed artist Craig Walsh. Kate Holmes

Tweed-based artist Craig Walsh said this project has the responsibility to educate the broader community.

"For someone who hasn't grown up in this area and didn't know of the mission that was outside Lismore, and that indigenous people were forced to go to school and were not allowed to practice their language, their culture in the school ground's that's part of the local history that is not widely known," he said.

"It ends up providing an insight into a place that is not easily accessible, and will allow people to develop a connection to the place.

"(The artwork) is informative and it fills in some gaps in the history."

Mr Walsh said the audiovisual work runs for just over 25 minutes, in a loop.

"The work has everything, from three-dimensional sound, which is sound effects and recordings, to music, we have worked with musicians to develop new music," he said.

"Aunty Irene's story is the basis of the work but there are lots of other content that surrounds, and layers to find."

 

Bundjalung Elder Aunty Irene Harrington will be projected onto the Lismore Quad when internationally renowned multi-media artist, Craig Walsh, lights up the quad with an installation that celebrates the history of Bundgalung through the telling of Aunty Irenes story.
Bundjalung Elder Aunty Irene Harrington will be projected onto the Lismore Quad when internationally renowned multi-media artist, Craig Walsh, lights up the quad with an installation that celebrates the history of Bundgalung through the telling of Aunty Irenes story. Marc Stapelberg

The work will use a double projection set up: a large projector will screen images on the wall at the back of the Lismore Library, plus another, smaller projector showing images on the ground.

"Using those two projection spaces offers a distinction between a cultural language that is born from the earth, which is very much a traditional language and culture, and the institutional culture, which is the building and the brickwork," he said.

"Those two basis of education for Aunty Irene interplay, break down as a sensory experience, in a very immersive environment."

Team effort

Students and staff from Southern Cross University's Indigenous School Gnibi Wandarhan and School of Arts and Social Sciences collaborated on researching, producing and devising Dungarimba Wandarahn.

The multimedia work has been made in collaboration with Southern Cross University's Indigenous School Gnibi Wandarahn responding to the Lismore Quadrangle and the site's heritage-listed history as the original Lismore High School (now the Conservatorium of Music and Lismore Library).

The students were part of the creative team that collaborated on the devising of the work.

From the SCU team, Narelle Johnson is in her final year of a media and communications degree and worked closely with creative producer Marisa Snow and artist Craig Walsh to research the history of The Quad.

 

Indigenous singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tom Avery, aka Blakboi, is a young man from the Gumilaroi peoples of central NSW now living on the Bundjalung Nation around the Byron Bay / Lismore area.
TEAM: Indigenous singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tom Avery. Marc Stapelberg

Elements of her research relating to assimilation policies will be projected on the library.

Eden Crawford-Harriman from SCU's AV and Sound Production course was the production coordinator and has been documenting the work through video, still photography and assisting the production team with the technical delivery.

Besides the SCU team, music was composed by Lismore artist Tom Avery, and it will play along with story and song from Bundjalung elder Aunty Irene Harrington

Music teacher Brett Canning from Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School, Terranora, designed and produced the sound work with students from the secondary school.

As a professional musician, Mr Canning was nominated for an APRA award for his songwriting work with The Waifs.

Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School's art music studio has been used to record the artwork's soundscape.