A woven basket by Aunt Marilyne Nicholls is the first work of art by an artist Dja Dja Wurrung to enter the permanent collection of the Central Goldfields Art Gallery.
Central Goldfields Art Gallery co-ordinator Helen Kaptein said Aunt Marilyne Nicholls was commissioned to create the artwork for the gallery and the Central Goldfields Shire community late last year.
“Dja Dja Wurrung are the recognized traditional owner peoples of Djandak (country) in central Victoria and we are honored to have this work of art in the collection.
“Aunt Marilyne is an exceptional artist and has spent hours creating this beautiful woven basket for the Gallery and we are proud that the artwork is on display for the community to see and enjoy when the gallery reopens. the Gallery in September of this year.”
Central Goldfields Shire Councilor Grace La Vella said she was lucky enough to see the woven basket in person when it was presented to Council as part of the Central Goldfields Shire Australia Day event.
“For this to be the first work of art by an artist Dja Dja Wurrung in our gallery, it is important – thank you Aunt Marilyne for creating this truly meaningful and special commissioned work of art which will have pride of place in our gallery.
Aunt Marilyne imagined the basket in the form of a nest. She used tight spiral binding on the base of the basket. The spiral is representative of Bunjil’s creation story and unfolds in the flight path that Bunjil the spirit eagle flies through the sky.
Outside the basket, Aunt Marilyne used the open coil weaving technique. This style of weaving lets light through and the artist intentionally chose this technique as a symbolic way to leave space for walkways and hallways to create change and new possibilities. Around the edge of the basket are a white ocher band and bundles of emu feathers which are traditional elements of a women’s basket.
Aunt Marilyne Nicholls’ work can be found in public and private collections, including from the British Museum in London to the Koori Heritage Trust in Melbourne. Recently, the Maryborough District Health Department acquired one of his works of art.
The woven basket will be on display at the Central Goldfields Art Gallery when the gallery is due to reopen in September 2022 after a major redevelopment.