Gunnedah's 2019 NAIDOC Week art exhibition is officially open to the public.
Artists and locals gathered at the Gunnedah Bicentennial Creative Arts Gallery on Friday to view the works on show, which included painted umbrellas, canvases, a scooter and painted eggs. This year's theme is "Voice. Treaty. Truth. Let's all work together for a shared future".
Kamilaroi woman Marie-Ellen Griffiths delivered the Welcome to Country and Gunnedah NAIDOC Committee member Mya McRae opened the exhibition, saying that the artworks "not only show culture but also show who people are".
"That's what NAIDOC Week is really about," she said.
Locals students from St Xavier's Primary School, Gunnedah High School and St Mary's College submitted a number of works including dioramas of villages, marquettes, clapsticks, and sculpted hands made from pottery titled Working as One.
Gunnedah High School's clapsticks were made from black wattle and were supplied by Kamilaroi artist Jack Conlan. Mr Conlan met the Year 8 students at Porcupine lookout where he taught the students how to sand off the wood. They then looked at Aboriginal painting techniques and applied these to the clapsticks in the classroom.
For Year 10 student Ryan Kelly-Payne, it was his first exhibition.
The 15-year-old prepared a totem pole and didgeridoo using techniques he learnt from his grandmother Denise Kelly, a Wiradjuri artist from Wellington.
Ryan said he learnt how to make a didgeridoo from a log at a camp at Lake Keepit and when he saw a piece of wood was left over, asked if he could take it home. He removed the bark, sanded it, applied lacquer, and then painted it.
"It took me a couple of days," he said.
The totem pole was a piece of pine he spotted at school and was allowed to take home and paint.
"[My grandmother] is the one who taught me how to do the feet [on the pole]," Ryan said.
Ryan is keen to learn more about Aboriginal art techniques from his grandmother and may even enter works into next year's exhibition.
"She's the one telling me to keep going with it," he said.
The exhibition also features works by well-known Kamilaroi artists Jack Conlan and Des Mullion.
Gunnedah Shire Council's cultural precinct team leader Lauren Mackley said it was "really beautiful" to see so many groups and artists contribute to the exhibition.
"There are heaps of different mediums and different approaches to the theme as well," she said.
The exhibition will be on display until August 10.