In March, Lenie Namatjira and Gloria Pannka travelled to Geelong and to Sydney to open exhibitions and lead workshops at Metropolis Gallery, Tali Gallery, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales. They travelled with Indigenous arts support worker Marisa Maher, a young Western Aranda woman. It was Marisa’s first trip to Sydney and Geelong- here’s her account of the trip!
I have recently returned to Alice Springs with Lenie Namatjira and Gloria Pannka. We have travelled to Geelong, Victoria and Sydney, NSW for Exhibition openings and facilitating workshops at these Art Galleries.
It has been a great trip and an experience I will be proud to be a part of.
Wednesday 26th March
We were dropped off at the Alice Springs Airport by Leah to depart on our trip to Melbourne Airport. When we arrived at the airport we were picked up by a private transport where we travelled to Geelong. We were taken to our Accommodation, Mercure Hotel. Once we were settled we had dinner and relaxed for the night. The room we stayed in was very nice and roomy. It wasn’t far from the town centre.
Thursday 27th March
Lenie, Gloria and I went down to the restaurant and had breakfast as we waited for someone from Metropolis Gallery to pick us up and take us to the Geelong Art Gallery. We were greeted by Robert from Metropolis Gallery.
We were then introduced to Lisa Sullivan, curator. She was able to show us through gallery and take us to see some works by Albert Namatjira, Hermann Namatjira, Enos Namatjira, Benjamin Landara and Henoch Raberaba.
We were able to assist with the names and location of paintings.
That evening we returned to Metropolis Gallery around 5.30pm for the opening of the Exhibition. We all had a short introduction speech to the guest at opening. It was a great experience even if I was so nervous to speak in front of many guests. After all our short speeches we were able to walk around a talk to people where they spoke highly of all the watercolour paintings in exhibition. There was a lot of feedback from everyone which was great.
Some of the works on display were purchase throughout the day and that evening as well as the following day. It was a successful exhibition.
We spent at least 2 hours there before we went back to our hotel for a late dinner.
Friday 28th March
We were up early, packed our bags went down stairs for breakfast where Alison joined us before we were picked up a taken to Metropolis Gallery for workshop.
We arrived at Gallery at 10.30am where guest slowly started to arrive for workshop. There were around 16 people that were ready to begin workshop. Each guest were asked to get board, paints, brushes etc and seated to start workshop.
Everyone was asking lots of questions as I walked around to assist anybody. They were all great painters as Lenie & Gloria were really happy with some of the works around them. There was lots of laughter amongst the atmosphere as everyone painted.
Many of the participants from workshop what was in their own imagination of a certain place they know or just was inspired from the many works in exhibition.
Steve Solo was a participant and did his work by looking at Mervyn Rubuntja and Johannes Katakarinja paintings on wall. He said he “thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and was excellent”.
Mary worked close to Gloria, she was singing along with the ladies as the Ntaria ladies choir played. She has been out to Hermannsburg and said she loved it.
Robyn Lowe painted next to Lenie, where Lenie was so impressed with her artwork. Also working with Lenie was Vonn Paton and Helen Simmonds. They all very much enjoyed the workshop and Lenie wants them to visit the red centre. Lenie gave them all the thumbs up.
Another Lady, Jenny McElwee did an amazing painting and was inspired by her own country- Grampians VIC, This is where she grew up.
Once workshop was finished we were picked up at 2.00pm and driven to Avalon Airport where we waited to board our flight to Sydney.
Once we arrived at Sydney, Sophia Marinos from BigHart collected us and then went to her house for dinner. She then dropped us off at hotel for a good night’s rest.
Saturday 29th March
We were picked up by Tali Gallery at 12.00. We started the opening of the Exhibition opening by each of us having a short talk about our work and art centre.
Workshop facilitated about 8 participants, they all enjoyed it and really learnt from watching both Lenie and Gloria paint. Di was very impressed with the works produced by Lenie and Gloria that she will be purchasing the artworks herself.
Some of the artworks in exhibition were purchased by the public and said they are very happy with the purchase.
Students from the Nicholson Street School presented Lenie and Gloria with a personalised card from the class with appreciation for visiting Sydney. One of the girls purchased Gloria’s painting and she was happy for the purchase which will be a gift for a family member.
They were also presented with a letter from the Governor of NSW, Professor Marie Bashir.
When we were ready to leave Di gave us a small gift for a token of appreciation. Lenie and Gloria were also interviewed by NITV journalist which is available on their website.
Sunday 30th March
Cara from the Art Gallery of NSW picked us up and taken us to the gallery where she showed us through the exhibition area before the presentation started.
As we went through exhibition area we saw both Lenie and Gloria’s father’s works and Uncle’s.
We sat down ready for the Q & A where the was about 15 people who asked us questions and were very interested with the works they produced and what gives them inspiration to paint.
Alison went for her talk so we went down to the Cafe for lunch. We then went to the workshop and started. There were three 30min workshops, the first had about 16 people. So each workshop had around the same amount of participants involved.
Amanda introduced Lenie and Gloria to everyone and they started to paint. There was a TV behind Lenie and Gloria which showed them painting. This was very cool so that everyone was able to see who they paint from a blank board and end up with a great painting.
I was excited to see all those works hanging in the gallery because they were my family.
Frances had joined us at the Art Gallery of New South Wales where she met Alison and Sophia.
This was the end of our exhibitions and workshops so the ladies were very happy to be able to rest and enjoy the rest of our time in Sydney.
Both Lenie and Gloria were happy that I had travelled with them and participated in the Exhibitions and Workshops.
Monday 31st March
On Monday Sophia picked us up from Hotel and we had breakfast before meeting with Lawyer who with help with the Albert Namatjira fund.
This day was also spent shopping before heading back to the hotel to relax and have a nice dinner.