We are pleased to be able to share with you the news that the exhibition Empty Coolamons is currently on show at the Melbourne Museum until the 26th of April 2015. This is an extraordinary exhibition by Robyne Latham and we invite you to listen to Robyne speak about her work or check out her website http://www.robynelatham.com.
Public Responses to this work
This exhibition has provoked strong and thoughtful responses from many people who have visited. Kym and Sylvia share their responses with you here and Jean Rumbold has provided some photos.
This is one of the most beautiful exhibitions I have ever seen.
I felt as though I was transported into another space. Almost as if I was in a coolamon myself. The room was womb like – a beautiful space that held you. An intimate setting.
The coolamons are floating as if suspend in time – which I suppose is true for some of the stolen and lost children who never found their way home again.
The room was peaceful –even though the work was about a traumatic time in Aboriginal history. The peacefulness gave you space to think. It was mesmerizing and calming. I felt lulled.
The mixture of audio and projected images worked very sympathetically with the suspended coolamons. The reflections created by the perspex base were very beautiful – allowing you to see underneath as well as above and around the coolamons, creating a visual echo effect.
Questions about remembering come to mind. How does remembering change things? How does remembering help people to not repeat unjust and inhumane policies.
Robyne has brought a beauty to the telling of this traumatic time. The work is very emotional. Very evocative. Maybe the artist is like a conscience for us, to remind us through their work of the responsibilities we have as human beings to each other.
You are entering a sacred space.
The womb of too many mothers
Filled with the absence
Of stolen children,
Pregnant with grief.
Suffering the perpetual labor of mourning.
Each coolamon a beautiful, intricate creation
Delicate and enduring
A witness to unspeakable loss.
Rocking ever so gently
At the slightest hint of movement,
The cautious breeze of tentative visitors.
By the whispers and songs
Of a living, eternal culture
Held backwards and forwards in time
Waiting through seasons
For the return of their stolen charges.
We sit in quiet reverie
Watching the light play between the lines, and gaps and surfaces.
Like children playing
Amidst the shrubs and trees
Of their land,