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Clay Boodjar

Clay Boodjar
By Community Arts Network
01 October 2019

CAN developed a series of clay workshops to support Noongar community members to create a detailed diorama of figurines representing historic and contemporary depictions of the York Reserve, the river and town.

Additionally, six Balardong Elders came together over a weekend to share personal and family experiences working in the Wheatbelt farming industry in the 50s and 60s, while creating clay objects depicting farm work.

The clay used within the project was sourced from various locations, including Balardong country. Under the supervision of Elder Merle Narkle Goodwin a bucket of clay was gathered from a pit behind the York Residency Museum – the same location that convicts once dug clay to make bricks used to build the town.

Collage, language and cultural design workshops were also run with Noongar students from York Senior High School who crafted mixed media collages depicting their perspective of life in York.

A six-week pop-up exhibition was held during the 2018 Act-Belong-Commit York Festival. With Elders managing the gallery space and running storytelling and language events, Clay Boodjar became an important story sharing hub frequented by the local community and visitors.

The participants' stories were also recorded in a compelling essay titled The Hands That Worked the Land, written by renowned artist (and daughter of two of the Elders) Dianne Jones.

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