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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Not-so-sweet sugarcane history showcased in new exhibition

Queensland’s not-so-sweet history of sugarcane is being showcased in a new exhibition at the Hervey Bay Regional Gallery.

Acting Hervey Bay Regional Gallery Director, Sarah Thomson said Cane explores the history of indentured South Sea Islander workers who were brought to Australia in the late 19th Century to work in the sugarcane fields.

Cane links together leading Australian artists, international perspectives and community stories to reflect on the legacy of Australian South Sea Islanders in the Fraser Coast and beyond,” she said.

“The exhibition features a mix of original historical objects alongside contemporary art.

“One of the objects on display is an anchor pulled from the depths of the Mary River belonging to the ‘Jason’, a labour recruitment ship that burned into the river in 1875, with the anchor recovered 140 years later.

“A large-scale video installation from Sancintya Mohini-Simpson will fill the gallery with the crackling of sugarcane burning followed by the wash of the ocean, reflecting on the experiences of her ancestors.

“The exhibition will also include a series of portraits of Hervey Bay and Maryborough South Sea Islander families, many of whom are descendants of workers brought to the region during the late 19th century.”

Cane was officially launched on Friday night alongside an exhibition by local artist Wilhelmus Briekers and live music inspired by South Sea Islander folk songs.

Wilhelmus Breikers: Eat the Moon (This is not a dystopian parable) is a reflective solo exhibition that delves into introspective explorations of self, inquiries into reception and perception, and the inner dimensions of landscape,” Ms Thomson said.

The two exhibitions are on display until April 21st.

There will also be a guided floor talk for the exhibition and a free weaving workshop on Saturday 24 February for those wanting to learn more and participate in a hands-on activity.

The Hervey Bay Regional Gallery is located at 166 Old Maryborough Road.

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