The Green Skills’ project ‘In the Footsteps of Belly Kelly’ links culture, art and landcare in the Mt Barker district. Basil Schur, the project’s initiator, writes ‘How special it is to walk in the footsteps of a great First Nations artist and to listen to the moving life stories of her family members.’
Partnering with Mt Barker Noongar Elders, Caroline Narkle and Frank Krakouer, and with the support of local farmers, Green Skills ran the first of three Landcare-Art Day outings on 28 October focussing on the stunning views of the Stirling Ranges/Koi Kyeunu-ruff. The outing allowed 11 Wadjella artists to participate in outdoor landscape painting with Caroline Narkle, her partner Frank Krakouer, daughter Isabelle and family member Neila Penny.
Caroline Narkle is daughter of celebrated Noongar artist Bella Kelly (1915 – 1994). Information about Bella Kelly is viewable at http://www.bellakelly.com.au/introduction.html Bella Kelly was closely associated with the famous Carrolup movement of Noongar Landscape art. Caroline, and others of her family, are gifted artists in their own right and paint in the Carrolup style.
It is a privilege to be with Caroline and her family out on Boodja and painting. The outings benefited from the participation of visual artist, Nikki Green (Great Southern TAFE Art lecturer and member of the Denmark Butter Factory Studios (https://www.nikkigreen.com.au/) as well as south coast eco-fabric artist, Jenny Wilson.
The location for the art outing was the family farm of Heather and Mark Adams at Woogenellup, an outstanding example of the integration of agriculture, landcare and care for biodiversity.The outing provided an opportunity for a relaxed, educational setting for yarning, sharing and creativity.
Green Skills has organised with the Mt Barker Visitor Centre and other Great Southern galleries to have exhibition of works from these outings from February through to April 2024.
Green Skills is running this arts program with input from Oyster Harbour Catchment Group, GS TAFE and Gondwana Link, supported by funding from the Koorabup Trust, Southern Ports and the CBH Group.