Reclaim the Void: Weaving Stories to Heal the Land

Reclaim the Void: Weaving Stories to Heal the Land

“Reclaim the Void” is a profound and transformative project born out of the deep sorrow expressed by the Ngalia Elders over the numerous open mining pits scarring their sacred land. This initiative aims to create a monumental textile artwork in the form of a ‘dot,’ which will be installed on the land affected by mining, representing a powerful symbol of healing and reclamation. Reclaim the Void: Weaving Stories to Heal the Land

Reclaim the Void: Weaving Stories to Heal the Land

The Genesis of the Project

The project has been in the works for over two years, emerging from the heartfelt pain and grief of the Ngalia Elders in Leonora, Western Australia. They lamented the “gaping mining holes left all over our country,” which inspired a vision to produce a significant ‘dot’ masterpiece. This artwork will be crafted from 3,000 hand-woven rugs made from discarded materials and donated by individuals from across Australia and beyond.

Art Inspired by Legacy

The final piece is inspired by a painting created by the late Ngalia Elder and land custodian, DW. This painting tells the story of the land, particularly focusing on the Ngalia tjukurrpa parna—a sacred area located in the northeast Goldfields. The finished artwork will narrate the tale of the land it covers, embodying the cultural and spiritual essence of the Ngalia people.

The Creation Process

The ambitious endeavor’s next phase involves assembling the hand-woven rugs into individual dots, forming a massive artwork projected to cover approximately 2500 square meters. The assembly will take place at Hackett Hall in the WA Museum, culminating in the final installation on the Ngalia tjukurrpa parna.

Cultural Significance and Community Involvement

Ngalia cultural leader, Kado Muir, emphasizes that traditional owners are engaging in a cultural and sacred activity, sharing stories, and creating art to restore the earth’s essence. “We’re working at a cultural and sacred level, creating a community of people each weaving their stories, contributing to an artwork that makes a statement about reclaiming the spirit of the earth,” Ms. Muir said.

The Assemblage Exhibition

The Assemblage exhibition will commence on Wednesday, 3 July at 5 pm, with an opening ceremony conducted by Western Australian Minister for Culture and the Arts, David Templeman. The ceremony will also feature a Welcome to Country by Carol Innes. Additionally, project collaborators Kado Muir and Vivienne Robertson will provide informative talks.

From 4-8 July, twenty volunteers will assist Ms. Robertson in tying the rugs during morning and afternoon sessions. A special event, ‘Concert in the Rugs,’ will take place on Friday, 5 July at 7 pm, featuring Noongar singer Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse.

Public Participation and Weaving Activities

During the WA Museum opening hours from 4-8 July, the public is invited to observe the assemblage process and participate in weaving activities. This inclusive approach allows the community to engage with the project’s narrative, contributing to the collective healing and reclamation effort.

“Reclaim the Void” is more than an art project; it is a convergence of land art, modern textiles, narrative, and heritage. It embodies a collective yearning for harmony and represents a joint acknowledgment of the living, fragile, and sacred nature of the land. Through this initiative, the Ngalia Elders and the broader community are weaving stories to heal the land, reclaiming its spirit and restoring its essence.

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