First Nations Arts and Events


Professor Anne Marsh

Beautifully presented, lavishly illustrated, this is a very large and heavy tome (3 kilos!) which is also strenuous intellectually. Anne Marsh has coordinated her massive amount of scholarly research (more than five year’s worth) into a most imposing book. I would perhaps suggest that the market for this would probably be university libraries and art galleries..It is divided into two sections , both arranged chronologically by decade from the 1960’s to now. It also includes acknowledgments and a list of abbreviations, a bibliography and index.

The second half of the book includes all the major articles and catalogue quotes etc as mentioned in the first half.

Marsh documents the female artist’s battle for recognition in the patriarchal art world and how their voice was often ignored (and still is in some countries eg Afghanistan with the Taliban). 370 colour illustrations, 220 artists and groups are featured with artist’s statements , critical responses and curatorial essays for assorted exhibitions. Marsh takes the reader though the interconnections of protest, exhibitions, critical and feminist theory and art practice over generations. Politics are important with the anti Vietnam war protests for example and Indigenous people’s struggle for acknowledgement and their great bond with Country.

We learn of the power of women’s art and how it has altered the way women’s art is viewed in the contemporary art world both here in Australia and internationally. Earlier during the 1970’s and 80’s there was the big discussion about ‘is craft art?’ and do textiles ‘count’ as art?. Nowadays there is postfeminism and posthumanism among other labels. Marsh also looks at how nowadays Indigenous art is recognised, and also the inclusion of artists who have emigrated to Australia. As well, the voice of LGBTI women is considered.

The book begins in 1968 which saw The Field exhibition and in the 1970’s with the first International Women’s Year there was also the major Lucy Lippard Power lecture. In 1977 we could visit The Women’s Show and another major exhibition in 1979 The Lovely Motherhood Show.

In particular Marsh looks at the challenging works by Vivienne Binns and Jenny Watson and quotes from horrified reactions of the public and assorted critics, balanced by gallery decisions. In 1967 Vivienne Binns’ first solo exhibition at the Watters Gallery in 1967 was extremely controversial, with critics, public and artists outraged. The reaction to her work took a terrible price on her personal life – Binns stopped painting after the exhibition and turned to work in enamelling, deciding to redefine herself as a craftswoman. Ten years after the exhibition, Vag Dens was bought by the National Gallery of Australia. In 1993 the NGA also purchased her Phallic Monument and Saggon.

Then there is the divisive work of Jenny Watson . In 1993, several years after her 1987 crucial intimately revealing work The Key Painting was publicly rubbished, the tables were turned and Watson represented Australia at the 45th Venice Biennale. Then in 2017 Melbourne’s Heide Museum of Modern Art and Sydney’s MCA both displayed major retrospectives of her work.

There is a lot about feminist theory and how it has changed over the years, the male gaze and exploring and representing the female body and the use of space. Marsh examines the networks of art practice, critical theory, exhibitions and strident protest. Marsh establishes in context the vicissitude and strength of women’s art and the ways in which it has shaped and transformed the art world both internationally and here in Australia. Depending on the decade Marsh is discussing some sculpture, textiles, video/film and performance art are considered interwoven with changes in technology and politics.

Marsh also looks at gender imbalance in artistic representation, for example – how many women have been chosen for the Venice Biennale or other major exhibitions?.How many women have won the Archibald Prize?  We learn that female artists were chosen for only three Venice Biennales during the 1980’s and 90’s (Rosalie Gascoigne in 1982; Jenny Watson in 1993; and a joint exhibition by Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Yvonne Koolmatrie and Judy Watson in 1997). However, since 2001, Australia has been represented by a female artist in eight of the 10 Venice Biennales.

With regards to the Sydney Biennale – for the first one in 1973 only one female artist was displayed and she wasn’t an Aussie!. By 2014 ,though ,women were represented in more than half the exhibition.

Marsh thinks far more needs to be done regarding female artist’s works in collections of the major Australian galleries and also retrospectives – she says that yes male artists have retrospectives but rarely any women.

At the time of writing this review there is a lot of brouhaha regarding Del Kathryn Barton’s The Heartland, a five panel piece that was divided .

DOING FEMINISM is a major comprehensive collection on women and the arts in Australia and will be required reading for years to come.

Part 2 of Know My Name, Australia’s largest exhibition of female artists, opened at the NGA June 2021 and runs until July 2022.

Blak Markets Online This Sunday


We have decided to hold our first Blak Markets Online due to concerns around Covid and that we are all in this together. What this will mean is we will still have a program you can watch online and you will also be able to buy from our stallholders. The Blak Markets mission remains the same to insure that you are buying directly from Aboriginal People and the benefits of your sales go to families and communities.

We are 100% Aboriginal so if you buy from our market whether they be online or in person you have the guarantee of Authenticity.

Stay Tuned for a great stallholder line up and a great program for the day.


Q Theatre has built a table, a long table, and over three months, three artists will each curate a month’s worth of activities around the Long Table – in The Joan’s Atrium Foyer – for the public to enjoy.

Having kicked off in autumn, Long Table has been curated by leaders from local CALD, LGBTQI+ and First Nations, communities with the view of to creating a space for discussion, celebration and reflection on their diasporic culture and relationship to Western Sydney.

Each month feature panels, parties, workshops, catch ups, and cups of tea all culminated in a final night-time gathering filled with art, food and drink. The doors are open, the tickets are free, RSVP online at for details.

The final Long Table program is here, this time curated by Dharug,Dharawal-Muringal-Baragal artist Venessa Possum and Nathan Sentance. Titled MURU YUU YURA, June’s program looks at the experiences and pathways of First Nations people. Continue reading FIRST NATIONS PATHWAYS AND PEOPLE EXPLORED IN Q THEATRE’S FINAL LONG TABLE


Join Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artisans at the iconic Blak Markets at Bare Island La Perouse Sunday, February 24 from 9:30am to 3pm.

Arts and Craft have always been a focus at the Blak Markets and this market will have the famous shellworkers from La Perouse, Auntie Esme Timbery and Marilyn Russell doing a shellwork workshop and selling their art.

This market will also feature Native plants including bushfoods, which are being developed by Indigigrow, the other social enterprise arm of the charity who runs the Blak Markets.

The Blak Markets are a great chance to buy authentic unique gifts knowing that 100% of the profits go back into Aboriginal communities. The Blak Markets feature authentic, original and affordable Aboriginal artworks, beauty products and one-of-a-kind homewares and jewellery as well as Indigenous inspired food and refreshments.

Along with a dance performance, Aboriginal singer/songwriter, Maddi Lyn who has a deep passion for Country Music will be singing on the day, along with a interactive session for the kids with Larry Brandy Storytellers.

24 February, 12 May, 29 September, 15 December Bare Island La Perouse

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UTP: BlakBox
Photo Credit: Barton Taylor

Urban Theatre Projects (UTP) will be installing its surround-sound pavilion, BLAK BOX at Blacktown Showground Precinct in the heart of Western Sydney, in partnership with Sydney Festival and Blacktown Arts.

The state-of-the-art surround-sound space captured the imagination of Sydney-siders when unveiled earlier this year at Barangaroo and now a brand-new program of works – FOUR WINDS – has been curated by Daniel Browning with elders, young people and musicians from Blacktown, Australia’s most populous urban First Peoples community.  FOUR WINDS draws on the oral history and speculative future of Blacktown and Greater Western Sydney from the perspective of Blacktown Elders and teenagers. Continue reading FOUR WINDS: NEXT ITERATION OF BLAKBOX COMING FOR SYDFEST19


Frances Rings: Photo by Jamie James

NAISDA Dance College, Australia’s premier Indigenous dance college, is partnering with Carriageworks for a fifth consecutive year from Wednesday November 21 to Saturday November 24 to present STORYPLACE. NAISDA’s 2018 Sydney season honours Indigenous women and the ” female creative force inherent in our landscape, art and stories and alive within the spirit of our young women today.”

The Guide had a chance to speak with the director: NAISDA’s Head of Creative Studies, Frances Rings.

SAG:                      It’s such a pleasure to speak with you.  I love the work of NAISDA and look forward to the showcase each year but some of our readers may not be aware. I wonder if we could start the beginning, if you could tell us a little bit about your wonderful college and the stunning work you do.

FRANCES:            NAISDA is a training organisation, an RTO. We train Indigenous students in all areas of dancing and performing arts. There’s formal training in units such as ballet, contemporary, urban, tumbling and also we have other units such as critical and creative thinking, dance on film and theory based units such as composition. We also do cultural dance from the mainland and from the Torres Strait Islands. Continue reading NAISDA: STORYPLACE. AN INTERVIEW WITH THE DIRECTOR


Images from :CHASING SMOKE

Playing as part of the Sydney Fringe, THE WOMEN OF CHASING SMOKE  is under the aegis of contemporary circus company Casus, an organization respected Australia-wide for the quality of their development of thematic content inside the form.  The parent production, CHASING SMOKE, is a larger show which was “born out of Circus Oz’s BLAKflip, a program that nurtures and actively increases the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander circus artists on stages in Australia and across the globe.”  This incarnation is the women of that show and it is blazingly femalecentric in strength and lyricism.

It begins with a tour of ‘Aborigine World’ from a hostess who is dressed in a colourful and very charming 50s tea-length, full skirt, swing dress.  As two women of colour do the huddle and look sad thing in their grey ill-fitting costumes on centre stage, our hostess re-introduces us to our historical misperceptions.  It’s a confronting beginning if you have time to really think about it but this show will move fast, morph easily into new skill based scenes and flow gracefully to express the lived experience modern indigenous women. Continue reading THE WOMEN OF CHASING SMOKE: GENTLY HELD WHISPS


Blak Markets will be back at Bare Island on Sunday the 30th of September from 9:30am till 4:00pm with all of their festivities.

09:30 Blak Markets Open
10:00 Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony
10:30 Weaving Workshop All day
10:45 Cultural Dance performance by
11:00 Acoustics performance
11:00 Tucky Cooley's Whale Ceremony
12:00 Bush Food Cooking Demonstration 30mins
13:00 Tucky Cooley's Healing Workshop
14:00 Acoustics performance
14:30 Cultural Dance performance
16:00 Gates Closed

Sponsored by Randwick City Council.  30th September, 9:30am till 4:00pm. Entry Fee $2.50 for anyone over the age of 5. Children under 5 free

THE BLAK MARKETS [Facebook]  take place at Bare Island within the Kamay-Botany Bay National Park with the support of the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service.

Blak Markets Father’s Day @ Centennial Park

Celebrate the great men in your life at the Father’s Day Festival! Bring your dad, grandad, uncles and brothers and spend the day enjoying the Blak Markets in the Parklands. Taste bush food fresh from the BBQ, join an artist workshop to learn traditional arts and crafts, watch a warrior dance and so much more. And if you’re up for it come along for the IMF Warrior Run in the morning.

02/09/2018 9:00am – 3:00pm at Centennial Park

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All photographs: Adjunct Professor Wayne Quilliam.

I’m going to get lost was my first thought when invited to review the MALI DHARNGURR PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION:  Celebrating the Stories of Strong Indigenous Women at International Towers. What a pleasure I would have missed out on had my first instincts prevailed.  This is a superb exhibition of faces that carry the pride and power of indigenous women. Currently showing in the foyer of Tower 3 and soon to be expanded to Tower 2, there are 37 pieces of work from renowned photographer Professor Wayne Quillam. Continue reading MALI DHARNGURR PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION: CELEBRATING STORIES OF STRONG INDIGENOUS WOMEN


Join Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artisans at the iconic BLACK MARKETS at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) 180 George St, Redfern on Sunday 27 May from 8:00am – 2:00pm.

The Blak Markets feature authentic, original and affordable Aboriginal artworks, beauty products, one-of-a-kind homewares and jewellery as well as Indigenous inspired food and refreshments. Continue reading ICONIC BLAK MARKETS THIS WEEKEND AT NCIE REDFERN



The Blak Markets is a great chance to buy art and products directly from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who made them in the knowledge that the profit goes back to Indigenous communities.

Blak Markets will be held at the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence [Facebook] on Sunday 11th of March and will also feature an exhibition and panel discussion  ‘At the Heart of Sport‘. Continue reading BLAK MARKETS IS ON AGAIN SUNDAY


The iconic Blak Markets return to Barangaroo Reserve on Sunday, 3 December from 10am to 4pm, offering a perfect opportunity to do some Christmas shopping, enjoy free entertainment and tuck into delicious bush tucker in a family friendly setting.

Stargazer Lawn will be transformed into a dynamic open-air market with more than 30 stalls selling unique indigenous arts, crafts and produce direct from maker to customer.

The Blak Markets are a great chance to buy locally made unique gifts this Christmas knowing that 100% of the profits go back into Aboriginal communities.

From original and affordable aboriginal artworks to handmade beauty products, handicrafts to one-of-a-kind homewares and jewellery, there are gifts for all ages.

Blak Markets are thrilled to have 3 remote Aboriginal art centres from outback Australia bringing the very best and latest fine artwork to their December market.

Bush tucker is an integral part of the Blak Market experience and this market is no exception, offering 3 live cooking demonstrations with:

Mark Olive (aka the Black Olive) Indigenous Australian celebrity chef and Bundjulung man who has introduced many to indigenous cuisine through his TV series
Jody Orcher, Ularai Barkandji woman, Aboriginal Education Coordinator at Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and champion of indigenous ingredients.

NICI apprentices showcasing their culinary skills (National Indigenous Culinary Institute (NICI) program places budding indigenous apprentices in the kitchens of some of Australia’s top restaurants including Rockpook, Aria, Icebergs Dining Rooms and Catalina)

The Blak Markets are organised by First Hand Solutions and hosted by Barangaroo. First Hand Solutions is an Aboriginal charity providing cultural reconnection programs for urban Aboriginal young people and profits from the Blak Markets are invested into these programs.

Barangaroo Reserve is easily accessible by bus, ferry or train. Car parking is also available under Barangaroo Reserve via the entry at Towns Place ($12 flat rate).

For more information about the Blak Markets at Barangaroo


3 DECEMBER 2017 10AM-4PM

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All images by Ben Apfelbaum.

This year’s NAIDOC Week theme Songlines – the living narrative of our nation- seeks to engage the wider community to know more about The Dreamtime- when ancestral spiritual beings shaped our rivers, lakes, plants, land formation and living creatures.

NAIDOC Week is a great opportunity to recognise and celebrate our indigenous cultural fabric.

NAIDOC in the City was staged at Hyde Park and included areas highlighting indigenous culture including the FOOD ZONE, MARKET PLACE, KIDS’ CULTURE, KNOWLEDGE AND CULTURE, and MAIN STAGE AND ENTERTAINMENT.

NAIDOC IN THE CITY- HYDE PARK on Monday 4 July was the inaugural public event kicking off NAIDOC 2016 with events continuing  until Thursday 14 July.

The remaining NAIDOC events are three events this Wednesday 13 July- A NAIDOC Celebration with Matthew Doyle at Woollahra Library between 10 am and 11 and Underexposed : Shelling Workshop at Waverley Library between 10 am and 12 pm, and a Women’s Weaving Workshop at Hillsdale Community Hall between 10.30 am and 11.30 am, and Thursday 14 July- Underexposed : Art, Health and Community- Public Talk at Waverley Library between 6.30 pm and 7.30 pm.