Gai Clarke and Jack Wratten to open art exhibition in the Gloucester Gallery

Jack Wratten and Gai Clarke had their traditional Aboriginal dot paintings on display at Gloucester's Perenti cafe in May 2018. Photo Anne Keen
Jack Wratten and Gai Clarke had their traditional Aboriginal dot paintings on display at Gloucester's Perenti cafe in May 2018. Photo Anne Keen

Just over a year ago, Gai Clarke and Jack Wratten first displayed their traditional Aboriginal artwork in a Gloucester cafe and now, they're about to open their first art gallery exhibition.

Mother and son both learned their craft from Gai's father, Worimi elder uncle Jim Clarke, and continue to honour him and their heritage by keeping the tradition alive.

When they first exhibited their modest collection of eight pieces of artwork at Perenti cafe in May 2018, there was hope of being able to have their work hung in a proper gallery one day.

For Gai, holding a gallery exhibit was another way of bringing indigenous artwork to the community.

Understanding the volume of pieces required to fill a gallery, the pair continued to build their collection.

So, when Gloucester Gallery director, Rachel Saunders reached out to them about holding an exhibition, they took the opportunity.

Jack Wratten's painting

Jack Wratten's painting

"It's nerve-wracking, but I'm happy," Gai said.

"We've been working on making sure we have enough pieces."

The 'Giriba Barray' Hunting Grounds exhibition opens on Wednesday, June 19 and runs until Sunday, July 14 at the Gloucester Gallery, with the last week of the exhibit coinciding with NAIDOC Week.

An opening celebration and Welcome to Country ceremony will be held at 2pm on Saturday, June 22 and is open to the public.

Their works are pictorial communications representing information on where food, shelter, water, gathering places and sacred areas are found, helping others when travelling through the area, using a mix of contemporary and traditional colours, techniques, styles and material.

During the exhibition, Gai and Jack will be working in the gallery giving visitors the opportunity to see how their pieces come together or to ask questions about their art form.

The Gloucester Gallery is open Wednesday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm and Sunday from 10am to 1pm. This exhibition is presented with the support of friends and the Gloucester School of Arts.