Close Search

Community Arts Network presents
An exhibition of art and stories from the York Noongar community

8 September – 7 October 2018
10 – 4 pm, Fri, Sat, Sun & public holidays
110 Avon Terrace, York, Western Australia
Exhibition Launch Sat 8 September, 2 – 4 pm

Merlene Della Jones, Rico the Kelpie Farm Dog, Clay, 2018. Photography Bo Wong

An exhibition featuring hand-built clay sculptures, animation, and mixed-media collages that share the history of Noongar farm workers and experiences of the reserve, river, land and town through the artistic hands of many generations.

Artists, Storytellers and Writers: Gail Airey, the late Colin Boundry, Allen Jones, Merlene Della Jones, Deborah Moody, Merle Narkle-Goodwin, Audrey Nettle, Graham Nettle, Lois Ralph, Steven Aiton, Jade Bateman, Dianne Jones, Bradley Kickett, Karlee Parnham, Kadeena Ryan, Myah Day, Indianna Kiernan, Zaniia Ryder, Breeanna Slater, Letisha Thompson & Jamelia Ugle.

The Clay Boodjar exhibition celebrates a year of Community Arts Network’s Rekindling Stories on Country program with the York Noongar community on Ballardong country.

Presented as part of the Act-Belong-Commit 2018 York Festival.

Guided by the participants desire to share historical and recent stories of the area, these three projects present a range of expressions and stories that map personal and collective experiences of place.

Clay has been an important medium for telling these stories.  Given the abundant clay deposits in the area and the history of its use in building the town, it was a goal of the group to craft local stories with local clay. Many locations in York were utilised over the year long program. Introductory clay workshops were held in Lesser Hall and community meetings and youth art workshops at the York Community Resource Centre. The map figurines were made in a make-shift studio in the CWA cottage. Clay pieces were fired in a rubbish bin kiln, layered with dry flora and sawdust in the backyard of Gallery 152. The map figurines were taken out to the Reserve, Jules’ café, the swing bridge and other local sites to be animated.

A bucket of local red clay was gathered from a local pit behind the York Residency Museum. This was done with permission and supervision of Elder Merle Narkle Goodwin, and the museum. This was then blended with clay from local potter Stewart Scambler’s York property and Australian commercial clay, ready to be sculpted.

This exhibition is testament to the leadership, hard work and creativity of the participating community members.  Some of whom are practicing artists, and others were simply keen to give art a go. The development of the work has been supported by a professional team of CAN arts facilitators who worked beside the group giving technical advice and helping to bring creative concepts to life.

Clay Boodjar offers powerful new ways of seeing York and Ballardong country, and reminds us there are so many more stories to be shared and heard.

“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,” Merle Narkle Goodwin, local Elder


This project is part of CAN’s Rekindling Stories on Country program.

Yarning session with local Elders

Come along and listen to Noongar Elders as they share their personal experiences of living in Ballardong country. Delve into the stories that lay behind the artworks and stories that make up the exhibition CLAY BOODJAR.

1 – 2pm, Sat 22 September 

Elders and Participants outside the CWA, York

Simply enter your details to signup to our newsletter.