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Libby Harward Art : before:trodden:denied - my current artwork in Gold Coast City Gallery. The Gallery is currently hosting the my work alongside the group of inspirational Aboriginal Artists I spent 5 days with on the 2015 South Stradbroke Island Indigenous Artist Camp. The Camp led by nationally and Internationally renowned artist Fiona Foley was so inspiration and has provided me with opportunity to further my contemporary art practise.This exhibition is an exclusive window into our experience and features some of the sketchings, objects and works created during their time on country.
When I tred on country I am re-telling myself stories I have heard from my family. I am re-membering things that have been passed down to me, bringing them into consciousness. I am wondering what my Ancestors were thinking, feeling and doing here before me and how much of that I carry with me now and into the future.During the week on Sth Straddie we spoke of the history of post-contact Australia and I contemplated further on my Grandfather and Grandmothers and wondered how they felt about decisions they made and were forced to make.I contemplated on how, as a result, I had carried a sense of being disconnected and denied into the present and whyI had not always been able to understand this feeling.The process of creating this art work was a personal ceremony - a culmination of my experience on the island andof my experiences of growing up in my extended family where some things were known and understood implicitly. Creating this work then becamea means to share withotherswhat being on country that week meant for me. It is importantto methat this work is made fromour saltwater country - seaweed, mangroves, washed up debris and thatthe work is ephemeral.This work is an expression of my story and connection to country and shows that what went before me is still present. Country and culture that was trodden and cared for by Ancestors is very much alive today despite that country and culture being trodden on and access denied to our people through its appropriation under British law.The opportunity to participate in the artists camp and create this work enabled me to placethe feeling of being denied into cultural and socio- historical context, and tore-present part of my family story through a ceremony of art-making.