First Nations petroglyphs once found along the banks of the Burnett River, and referred to as the Burnett River Rocks, are the subject of an extensive body of artwork by Taribelang and Gooreng Gooreng artist Dylan Sarra.
Dylan’s research into the Burnett River Rocks commenced during his early studies at Griffith University, and what he uncovered has informed his nationally recognised arts practice.
This practice has seen him awarded as a finalist in the prestigious Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards (NATSIA) for the last three years, and he is currently headlining an art installation at Queensland Museum as part of the World Science Festival.
In recognition of the importance of Dylan’s artworks in telling this First Nations story of the region, Bundaberg Regional Galleries, supported by Bundaberg Regional Council, have acquired these artworks as part of its collection.
“The story of the Burnett River Petroglyphs is of great importance as it is one of many locations along the river that our ancestors spent time at to share knowledges and maintain their way of living within the natural environment,” Dylan said.
“This story is important to me as I have a direct connection to the area and my ancestors bore the same scarification marks on their chest as some of the carvings on the rocks.
“Over the large area spanning the size of half a football field, a selection of stones were split, removed and left in various locations around Queensland.
“Not all the stones have been recovered although most are accounted for in where they now lay.
“Recovery and repatriation is a long arduous process that involves authentic discussions with all the right people.
“It’s my hope that the work I have been doing assists with this process by creating awareness to the story and its origins.”
Bundaberg Regional Galleries will host Dylan for a special artist talk on 16 March, where he will speak about his research into the Burnett River Rocks, and how his arts practice has helped to tell this story.
He will also be joined by Gallery Director, Rebecca McDuff, to discuss the importance of the Gallery as a collecting institution for his work.
Dylan has also presented on The Burnett River Rocks at The University of Queensland as part of its UQ Reconciliation Action Plan.
Dylan Sarra: The Burnett River Rocks
When: Thursday 16 March – 5.30 pm to 7 pm
Where: Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery – 1 Barolin Street
Cost: $10pp – bookings required by clicking here.