'Strong Spirit' exhibition at Department of Rural Health Shepparton


Art is an important way we can all celebrate the presence of our local community and embrace Aboriginal culture to create a presence that reflects the community in the University environment.  The University of Melbourne recently hosted the ‘Strong Spirit’ exhibition by the Gallery Kaiela as part of the 20th SheppARTon Festival .  The Department of Rural Health were pleased to support this collaboration, and in part to support further development of the skills and professional expertise of local Aboriginal artists and community.

The exhibition opening on Thursday, 3 March 2016 in the foyer at the Department of Rural Health building in Shepparton was attended by 80 people.  The opening began with beautiful playing of the didgeridoo by Eric Brown.  Eric, a Kamilaroi man who moved to Shepparton, has contributed to the local community through the arts for over twenty years.   This was followed by the paying of respects to the traditional owners of the land on which the exhibition was being held, the people of the Yorta Yorta Nation.  The Welcome to Country was given by Uncle Leon Saunders an Elder of Yorta-Yorta and Dja-Dja Wurrung Clans.

The exhibition in the foyer of the Department of Rural Health building was able to viewed Monday to Friday for the duration of the SheppARTon Festival with all pieces are available for purchase. The University purchased a work by Eric Brown and Vipoo Srivilasa Our Mob, 2015 porcelain and acrylic paint, dimensions variable. The work was developed for Collisions – A Cross Cultural Artist’s Collaboration, a partnership project between SAM Shepparton Art Museum and Gallery Kaiela.  This beautiful 3 piece ceramic creation is now displayed permanently in the foyer.

Catering on the night was supplied by Walkers Catering Service a locally owned and operated Aboriginal business with medical students waitressing the event.  Delights served included kangaroo sausage rolls with bush tomato chutney and yabby rice paper rolls with sweet sauce. The Department was proud to be involved in the SheppARTon festival to support this event for Gallery Kaiela and is always happy to have its campus used for community events.