Artwork installation set to begin on Savannah Way Art Trail

[by Isis Symes]

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Image: supplied

From expressions of interest to talent shortlisting, artist selection to concept designing – the Savannah Way Art Trail will soon become a reality.

Savannah Way Art Trail artists Glen Manning and Kathy Daly from Manning Daly Art have almost completed a series of six cohesive, large-scale permanent feature artworks that will be installed in Burketown, Croydon, Normanton, Georgetown, Karumba and Doomadgee in the coming months.

Savannah Way Art Trail Project Manager Patty Preece, from CQUniversity, said she was excited to see the project finally start to come to life.

“It’s been a magnificent journey seeing the trail start as a concept and develop into something tangible that will become a drive-tourism drawcard for years to come,” Ms Preece said.

The project team spent many hours working closely with each of the six communities, consulting with locals, arts organisations, councils and Traditional Owners.

Croydon Elder Aunty Gladys was one of the many active participants in the consultation process for the artwork piece that will be installed in the community titled ‘Returning Boomerang’ that will feature inscriptions by local artists Krystal Spencer and Siyesha Douglas.

The artworks by Krystal and Siyesha feature turtles, goanna and perch - all three animals providing strong connections to Croydon.

“When I was a kid my grannie and grandad used to take us fishing and hunting and for the turtle there is two ways to catch him, on a line or digging him out from under the ground, Aunty Gladys explained.

“The old goanna, he was easy to catch I reckon. When you’re hunting for a goanna you see them either on the ground or up in the tree.

“And with the perch, that’s the fish, we used to make fishing line out of cotton, rub it on your lap so you make it strong and then with the hook, ‘cause we had no hook, we used to use the common needle, bend it back to make the hook. Then we’d tie the cotton on it and used to go down to the creek and catch our perch in the creek. Take it home, either fry them nice and crispy or used to make soup out of them and eat them.

“When you look at the creeks today you wouldn’t think we done that in that creek. It’s all flat now. All filled in.”

Aunty Gladys said the Savannah Way trail would tell a generation of stories through art.

“We got young ones today that don’t know about these things and that’s where they might learn from this,” she said.

Utilising two balanced forms inspired by a story of place, the main work of art, Returning Boomerang, will communicate a connection to country and an understanding of people’s relationship to the land, and journeys within the landscape, coming and going.
 
“Acknowledgement of the contribution First Nations People, Chinese/South-East Asian
immigrants, and women have made to the history of Croydon is recognised and
expressed through First Nations designs and textile designs, specific to these ‘hidden
groups’,” artist Glen Manning said.

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said the Savannah Way Art Trail was a key project for the region, delivered with Queensland Government support through the Regional Arts Services Network (RASN).

“The Art Trail will showcase local artists and stories and is set to deliver important cultural tourism economic benefits,” Minister Enoch said.

“Our commitment to RASN is helping to broker partnerships and empower regions to realise arts and cultural priorities.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to investing in regional arts to strengthen and enliven our communities, grow creative employment, and share our unique stories, with Creative Together 2020 – 2030 progressing our vision to renew and transform Queensland through arts, culture and creativity.

“This includes our commitment of $7.8 million to deliver RASN over four years to 30 June 2025, and $2.13 million in 2022-23 to the hugely successful Regional Arts Development Fund partnership with 59 regional local councils across Queensland.

“We have also committed a further $50 million to support the delivery of Grow 2022-2026, the second action plan of Creative Together 2020-2030,” Minister Enoch said.

The six artworks each tell their own unique story that is relevant to the community in which it will be erected.

Installation will begin in October with The Savannah Way Art Trail expected to be officially launched in November.

The Savannah Way Art Trail, led by the Regional Arts Services Network (RASN), is funded under the Year of the Outback Tourism Events Program, the RASN, the Monsoon Trough fund and the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF).

RASN is an initiative of the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.

RADF is a partnership between the Queensland Government and 59 local councils across the state supporting local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

More information about the Savannah Way Art Trail is available at www.cqu.edu.au/savannahway

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