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Wiradyuri Artist awarded NSW First Nations Fellowship

[supplied by Ros Richardson]


Amala Groom at Parramatta Artists Studios Rydalmere 2022. Image: Jacquie Manning

Proud Wiradyuri woman and conceptual artist Amala Groom has been awarded the 2022 First Nations Creative Fellowship to produce a new cultural work that will challenge recorded histories of NSW through spoken Wiradyuri/Wiradjuri language.


Annette Pitman, Chief Executive Create NSW said the fellowship, established in partnership between Create NSW and the State Library of NSW, supports the critical work of Aboriginal artists in challenging and informing our understanding of Aboriginal histories.


“Congratulations to Amala Groom who now has the opportunity to work with the talented First Nations staff at the State Library to access and transform its collection with an important new work that will investigate her mother’s Wiradyuri/Wiradjuri language, interrogate our assumptions, and ensure NSW histories are understood through the vital lens of living Aboriginal people,” Ms Pitman said.


“This fellowship is part of the important work of prioritising Aboriginal histories and voices which have been historically silenced or misunderstood in our collections and archives. I commend the State Library on its extensive work with Aboriginal communities to add their stories and knowledge to the historical record in culturally appropriate ways.”


State Library of NSW’s Manager of Indigenous Engagement Damien Webb said the Library is thrilled to announce conceptual artist Amala Groom as this year’s First Nations Creative Fellowship recipient.


“The $30,000 fellowship will support the creation of a work that engages critically with the Library’s Wiradyuri/Wiradjuri language collections and context. By examining the rich but complex language records and materials held in the collections and exposing the silence which has often surrounded them, Amala’s work is challenging, inspiring and surprising. The Indigenous Engagement Branch is excited to work with her on this project,” Mr Webb said.


Amala Groom said this fellowship will provide a life-changing opportunity to occupy space in the academy in the remembering of Wiradyuri, her mother's language, culminating in a series of live performances.


“Working with family, community, and the Koori staff at the State Library of NSW, and underpinned by Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property, we will together negotiate the cultural, ethical, and moral parameters in what collecting performance art looks like for the institution with the collection of my work setting a precedent in best practice for contemporary arts and cultural practice.” Ms Groom said.


The $30,000 NSW First Nations Creative Fellowship is a partnership between Create NSW and the State Library of NSW to support a NSW Aboriginal artist, knowledge holder or creative practitioner to undertake creative research that will work towards a presentation outcome at the Library.


Amala Groom is the second recipient of the NSW Aboriginal Creative Fellowship, following 2021 inaugural Fellow Bundjalung artist Dr. Bronwyn Bancroft.


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