On Friday 18th March Aboriginal community members, artists, teachers and students, and Museum partners came together to celebrate the launch of the exhibition Wrapped in a Possum Skin Cloak by the Lake. Aboriginal guests represented Sydney City's Indigenous communities including La Perouse, Redfern and Glebe.
The warm atmosphere was buzzing with over 125 people enthusiastically discussing current projects and ideas for future potential ventures. Lyn Riley, an Aboriginal lecturer at Sydney University also brought along her own kangaroo skin cloaks. She used burning techniques to create personalised designs for the wearer. The project encourages the revitalisation of traditional knowledge of Aboriginal cloak-making. Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery's Aboriginal reference group, in collaboration with the Lake Macquaire City Art Gallery and Lake Macquarie City Library hosted a series of workshops with their local Hunter Aboriginal community and schools to revive Aboriginal cultural practice. They worked together to create their own possum skin cloak.
Comments from launch attendees:
Fabulous! The whole concept and execution is outstanding and I’m really excited. I’m going to spread the word!
Amazing, made me feel proud to be an Aboriginal
The value of the cloaks are priceless. Anything that promotes them should be embraced
Positive, educational and thoroughly enjoyable
I guess it’s a good possibility to bring people together. Unfortunately those who are here are already interested and sensitive concerning all the problems. Now it is very important to reach the others. You all made such a good job. I wish you a lot of success.
Feedback from launch attendees indicated that they all felt the exhibition promoted Aboriginal culture and added value to their visit to the Australian Museum.