The newest exhibition to be installed at The Glasshouse in Port Macquarie explores local Aboriginal heritage and culture.
A descendant from the Birpai Nation, Jason Wing said his exhibition – titled The Presence of Absence – is the culmination of his Artist in Residency program which he completed earlier this year.
“I was fortunate to be able to complete the Artist in Residency program at the Glasshouse back in June and having strong connections to the Birpai land it was crucial to my work that I engaged with the local elders,” Mr Wing said.
“I am a multi disciplinary artist of mixed heritage and that really drives my work. The main theme of my work in this exhibition is the celebration of Port Macquarie’s dual history – the Aboriginal history or lack thereof and the colonial history.
“During my residency I stumbled across the archives from The Glasshouses’ site and it was both interesting and shocking at what history had been preserved. That led me to seriously question the local documentation of Aboriginal history and wonder what wasn’t kept."
Mr Wing has reinterpreted old and new work in response to his residency and is commenting on the intersection of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people regarding land management.
“I think people should expect to question what they know as truth and they should expect to see historical facts passed down as well as stories about Aboriginal and colonial history,” he said.
“My exhibition also uses artifacts that were found where The Glasshouse stands today.
“For me it was almost a homecoming coming to Port Macquarie and I was excited to learn about my history but when I got here it was hard to find and I am really responding to that in this exhibition.
“The exhibition is about seeing the value of both Aboriginal and colonial history and showing that what documents are kept then becomes the history others see – regardless of what happened and when.”
Mr Wing’s exhibition opens at The Glasshouse on October 12, before opening to the public from October 13 – December 2.
He will also be giving a free artist talk at The Glasshouse on October 13 at 11am.
“My aim with the exhibition is to inspire people to have an awareness of where they live and to think out Port Macquarie’s history in a new way.
“It is particularly relevant given upcoming bicentenary events and I hope my exhibition can contribute to people’s understanding of what happened.
“I also encourage people to come along to the artist talk as I will be talking about how my exhibition came about and why I have created certain things.
“It will also be a great chance for people to ask questions and to be able to interact with me and the exhibition on a different level."
Entry into the gallery is free as well as the artist talk.