Juanita McLauchlan: gii mara-bula / Heart Hand-also

May 13, 2023 to Aug 20, 2023

Image: Juanita McLauchlan, from the series Standing In The Heart Of Seven Generations II (detail) (1 of 15), 2023, wool, thread, possum fur.


In gii mara-bula / Heart Hand-also Juanita McLauchlan draws upon her Gamilaraay identity, history and language to explore family connections in ambitious new works focussing on personal belongings and body adornments. Trained as printmaker, McLauchlan now makes enormous contact prints on blankets: they literally mirror back the beauty of Wiradjuri Country. Then she stitches the blankets or cuts them into strips to make necklaces combined with possum-fur, and bound with red thread symbolising connections of blood through generations. Like wool, cotton thread is an introduced European material, but McLauchlan does not deny this inheritance: she celebrates both sides of her family and herself.

This celebration is manifested when wool is combined with possum-fur, ethically sourced from New Zealand. In giirr ngiyani gulagamalaylaya / We will always hold each other the family’s histories are sewn together, using both Aboriginal and European stitches historically used for making blankets and capes. As Juanita McLauchlan says, ‘The exhibition title gii mara-bula / Heart Hand-also expresses my understanding as an Aboriginal person of continuities over time, that I share time with both ancestors and descendants.’

gii mara-bula / Heart Hand-also is curated by Julie Ewington. To make this work, Juanita McLauchlan received the generous assistance of the 2022 Windmill Trust Scholarship.

The artist thanks Dr. Julie Montgarett, friend, colleague and mentor, for her generous assistance with the development of this work, and Dr. Christopher Orchard, of Charles Sturt University’s Critical Transdisciplinary Indigenous Studies Research Group, for invaluable assistance with Gamilaraay language terms.

Exhibition Catalogue