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Hand-built clay sculptures, a large painted map and stop-motion animated stories come together to show the history of York from a Noongar/Ballardong perspective.

Artwork: Merle Narkle Goodwin. Camp in the Clearing Time 2018, Clay. Photo Bo Wong.

Known for its national trust listed buildings and rich farming history, Community Arts Network has created an exhibition which  aims to enrich the history York by sharing poignant and personal stories through a variety of creative mediums.

“The Noongar farm workers stories are not just important to the Noongar community, they are important to the whole town. We all played a role in the building of York,” said local Elder Merle Narkle Goodwin.

Those sentiments are echoed by another artist-participant Audrey Nettle.

“There’s a lot of history that people don’t know about, what life was like on the Reserve. It was a couple of kilometres out of town and it was called the Native Reserve.”

The exhibition, Clay Boodjar, is the culmination of a year-long community art workshop program which is part of CAN’s nationally funded Rekindling Stories on Country program.

Clay Boodjar will give people a chance to see York and it’s surrounds through the eyes of some of the town’s Noongar/Ballardong population, both young and old. These works and the stories that inspire them, will add to the richness of York’s history as WA’s first inland town,” said CAN’s General Manager Monica Kane.

The farm story sculptures that make up the work ‘The Hands that Worked the Land – Moorditj Maar Boodjar’ are made from locally sourced clay – the same clay that was once used to make the bricks that built the town. Other clay will be placed on a large hand painted map, creating a unique diorama of York.

The piece will be complimented by an animated film called ‘Welcome to Ballardong’ featuring the stories behind each clay scene.

Teenagers from York Senior High School also share their perspectives of York in mixed media collages title ‘York Life’.

CLAY BOODJAR – an exhibition of art and stories from the York Noongar community will be installed in a vacant shop on the main street of York, 110 Avon Terrace, from 8 September – 7 October.

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