What an honour and privilege it was to have Waradgerie artist Lorraine Connelly-Northey as our artist in residence in 2012. Inspired by the bush environments of north-western Victoria where she grew up, her innovative objects and installations relate to the history and culture of the Waradgerie people and her personal connection to the land. Using found materials, both industrial and organic, such as corrugated iron, fencing wire, feathers and shells,
Connelly-Northey uses her knowledge of Aboriginal coil weaving to transform recycled materials into traditional forms such as kooliman and dilly bags. In the artwork she created for our College, Lorraine used the snake in a contemporary re-imaging of Wurundjeri culture, connection and continuation. Encircled by dilly bags and bowls, and cut from corrugated iron by our students, the artwork speaks to the tradition of aboriginal women as primarily the gatherers of food.
A bit about the artist...
Waradgerie woman LorraineConnelly-Northey born in Swan Hill, Victoria in 1962, grew up making and connecting to the concept of using found material. Working closely with her mother, learning to use her hands to create, Lorraine also had her foundations solidly placed in the environment. This was nurtured by her father, a farmer, who would share his knowledge about the landscape and the many thousands of years of Aboriginal connection to and occupation of the country.
Respect for the land and the Murray River informs her practice, as does the history of gathering, both in the sense of her Waradgerie ancestors who gathered to weave and provide food for community but also in the physicality of gathering rusted wire and metal from the landscape, collecting the ‘dead’ metal waste left on country and turning the material into inspired creations imbued with meaning and life.