This project has been developed by The Burton Art Gallery & Museum, with thanks to Torridge District Council and The Friends of The Burton

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Message from Australia

In 2011 local artist Pete Ward exchanged an amount of Bideford Black for some Australian earth pigments with visiting Aboriginal Elder Noel Butler. Noel and his nephew have since used the pigment to paint their bodies for ceremonial and public performances in New South Wales. On hearing about the 'Story of Bideford Black' Project Noel sent this message about his experiences of using Bideford Black...

'In our Culture as Aboriginal Australians we paint the colours of the Earth on our bodies in patterns and markings representing symbols of spiritual connections to the land. This also gives us a connection and an identification with our land.

Upon meeting Pete Ward, and his connection with Bideford Black and his understanding of the connectedness with the soil from his land, we have a spiritual communication and tie that is not understood by many non-indigenous people. This is capable of everyone to have a sense of belonging to the earth.'

Noel Butler
Aboriginal Elder
South Coast NSW

Narooma Noel & Phil, New South Wales (image courtesy Trish Roberts 2012)

Many thanks to Noel, Phil and Trish for sharing their story.

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