Spectacular Noongar statement on show makes a public appearance in Albany

Headshot of Kellie Balaam
Kellie BalaamAlbany Advertiser
AEC manager Drew Dymond with Violet and Harley Coyne.
Camera IconAEC manager Drew Dymond with Violet and Harley Coyne. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

One of Australia’s biggest Indigenous canvas paintings, Ngallak Koort Boodja was on display in Albany this week with Albany Entertainment Centre offering free guided tours.

The canvas stands 8m tall and is 10m wide and illustrates the relationship of the Noongar nations with country and the strength of the living Noongar culture.

Noongar elders selected six Noongar artists to develop a creative symbol of the Noongar connection to country.

It depicts sacred animals, plants, water, ancestral spirits and landscapes formed within 14 circles representing the inter-related dialectal groups of the Noongar people.

The artists who collaborated in the work were Shane Pickett, Lance Chadd, Troy Bennell, Yvonne Kickett, Alice Warrell and Sharyn Egan.

Ngallak Koort Boodja was the result of three years of community consultation with Noongar elders and artists across the South West.

It is an artistic landmark and statement of unity for the Noongar community.

Ngallak Koort Boodja.
Camera IconNgallak Koort Boodja. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

Albany indigenous elder Harley Coyne was one of the organisers of the painting project and conducted Wednesday’s viewings.

Mr Coyne said the painting should be celebrated for bringing the community together.

The Ngallak Koort Boodja canvas, or “our heartland”, took three years to complete and first made an appearance as part of the Perth International Arts Festival Great Southern program in 2011.

It was commissioned by the festival in 2006 uniting the artwork of 14 Noongar groups.

AEC manager Drew Dymond was involved with the project when the canvas was created.

“We are lucky enough to store the artwork here because it is too large to fit anywhere else,” he said.

“We try to bring it out when we can and we’ve had a good turnout from the public today.”

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