Gallery to showcase indigenous art, culture

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Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
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Kurrah Mia's Vernice Gillies and Justine Grey.
Camera IconKurrah Mia's Vernice Gillies and Justine Grey. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Traditional indigenous art is being given an exciting new platform at Albany’s only indigenous art gallery and retail store.

Kurrah Mia opened six weeks ago at Middleton Loop and the four owners have already had 10 local artists exhibiting their work in the store.

There is an appropriate meaning behind the store’s name — “Kurrah” means the red-tail cockatoo, and “Mia” means home.

Local Vernice Gillies has opened the store with son Larry Blight and Ron and Justine Grey.

They have high hopes of sharing their culture and heritage.

Ms Gillies said they had started the store to give the area’s Noongar artists an outlet they had previously not had. “Since the demise of the local Aboriginal art centre Mungart Buoodja, we needed to give these artists an outlet,” she said.

“Not all of our people are comfortable going online and selling their works, so they have a physical place here that they can bring their work.

“It is very nice to be helping to keep the traditional art forms going.

“We don’t want to make a fortune — it is an outlet for our local artists, that is enough.”

The store also specialises in local tours to share some of the region’s rich Noongar history.

The gallery offers a six-hour tour which begins at Mt Manypeaks and heads to the Kalgan fish traps then back to Albany.

It held its first tour last week, when 57 Aboriginal students learned about the region’s cultural importance.

“To protect these areas, we need to teach people about them,” Ms Gillies said.

They are hoping to start a second tour in the Quaranup area, and a walking tour at Mt Clarence.

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