An innovative workshop combining music and video was held in the Gawura Gallery on Wednesday.
Called “Myall Creek and Beyond”, it was part of the marking of the 180th anniversary of the massacre to the west of Inverell where some of the perpetrators were found guilty at a second trial after being acquitted in the first. The events and the trials were highly controversial at the time and they retain a sensitivity nearly two centuries later.
It is one of the rare occasions where the murderers of Aborigines faced justice.
The workshop was conducted by the Kamilaroi/Gomeroi singer/songwriters David Leha – known in his recordings as “Radical Son” – and Quarralia Knox.
They asked people to relate stories and make observations which might inform the exhibition and be incorporated in music.
The workshop was at the Gawura Gallery which is owned and run by Lloyd Gawura Hornsby who is a Koori, descendent of the New South Wales Aboriginal Yuin People.
David Leha has worked with festivals around Australia and his style of performance is strong and up-front, merging music from the indigenous Australian to hip-hop. It’s been called “potent and sublime”.
His co-presenter, Quarralia Knox, comes from a family of musicians in Tamworth. Her paternal grandfather, Roger Knox, and maternal grandmother, Auriel Andrew, are Aboriginal country music legends while her father, Buddy Knox, tours the country and the world with his blues band, largely comprised of her brothers.
The touring show is part of a project by the New England Regional Art Museum whose director, Robert Heather, said: ““These workshops are an opportunity for young people across the region to work with one of Australia’s leading indigenous singer-songwriters to create a new work that will help to explore a significant historical event that happened in our region, and how it still has effects upon communities today.”
The New England Regional Art Museum has been working with the National Committee of the Friends of Myall Creek to develop a series of events to focus attention on the 180th anniversary of the Myall Creek Massacre of 1838 and the trial of the perpetrators.”