There is a very unusual guest house in a little town called Mildura in Victoria Australia. It belongs to Aborigine community leader Leo Male, a friend of William’s.
Mildura’s nearest big city is Adelaide and beyond that Melbourne, perhaps the most habitable city in the world. William lived and worked in Mildura for fourteen years until the death of his wife. He taught art and creative writing at Tafe and got to know some of the local Aborigine artists through his wife Joan.
Commitments to his work in Ireland however prohibited an active involvement in local Aborigine art endeavours but talks he had with Mildura’s leading indigenous artist Badge Bates promises to bear fruit in the future. This post is about that as much as anything else.
William is presently at work back in Derry refurbishing the murals of The People’s Gallery that is visited each year by thousands of people from all over the world. He says” We are indeed honoured to have this little acre of sunshine in Mildura devoted to our work. It is a like a little patch of Donegal overseas; a most unusual and unique locale and sure to be of enormous interest to visiting Irish people or indeed anybody acquainted with Ireland at any level. A home away from home you could say, and Leo Male has gone to great pains to make it just that. We wish him well.”
You can download the flyer with all the information you need HERE.
On the walls of Leo’s guest house you will find the following framed.
”LEST WE FORGET”
The Bogside Artists became involved with Aborigines through William, one of the trio, who has lived and worked in Mildura for some fourteen years. Said William.” We have decided on a mural we would like to paint with some Aboriginal artists in Melbourne before the end of 2016.I have consulted with leading Aboriginal artist Badger Bates with that in mind. I have also met with Aboriginal leaders in the Northern Territory and, although I did not mention any joint-ventures in art, I did take part in a demonstration with my late wife Joan on their behalf. It was a demonstration against Government backed appropriation of Aboriginal land by mining corporations and the removal; of Indigenous people: an horrendously unfair and unlawful crime that got little media attention at the time. Apart from that, I have taught Aboriginal children the basics of art at a local school for a short period and have taught adults at TAFE.
The best of Aboriginal art is redolent with a sense of the sacred and the religious beliefs that underpin their cosmology. Even the worst of it, done on demand for tourists mainly, still shines for me with a freedom in relation to the craft that European artists have lost, that delight in the work for its own sake. Such art, like the Icon art of Eastern Europe, is incredibly important in this age of ours that darkens perceptibly with the gradual erosion of all spiritual and moral values. Given that fact it is not at all surprising that the real art of Indigenous Australia ,that embodies values long since lost to the West should be disparaged and their practitioners unfairly diminished.
We therefore look forward to working with the Aborigines for all these reasons and more in the near future ,especially as our fate and our racial memories have so much in common. The Irish too have had their culture and lands supplanted , their language stifled and their culture stolen by the sleight of hand the Imperialists call “legality”, with booze, television, Country and Western “music” and supermarkets offered as an insulting recompense.
These themes we hope to address, each in our own way, but together in a much deeper sense. We look forward to it.” (William Kelly, Bogside Artist February 2014).
For more information about this contact
Aubergine Educational Services
P.O Box 2770
Tel/Fax: (03) 5023 6475
Mobile: 0407 513 377