“I live in a house, but I still go bush,” said Gullie, otherwise known as Dr. Richard Walley, OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia), a contributing artist visiting Southern California for the opening of Nomad Two Worlds, the collaborative art project created by renowned Australian photographer Russell James. Gullie is one of the many artists who contributed to the week-long exhibition, which opens today (2/23) at Santa Monica, CA’s Pier 59 Studios, and is sponsored by V Australia.
The aim of the project is to unite the powerful artistic expressions of both the ancient indigenous and modern settlers in Australia in an effort to facilitate “a global model of reconciliation in action with apology and mutual respect at its heart,” according to a press release.
A Nyoongar, Gullie grew up in the Western Australian bush of Pinjarra, immersed in history and culture of his Indigenous Australian ancestors. He is an artist, spokesman, educator, musician and dancer who has the blessing and guidance of his elders to share the stories of the Nyoongar people, long considered the traditional owners of the Southwest of Western Australia. Gullie is one of a select group of artists that James has worked with for the past eight years.
Last night (2/22), James and iconic American fashion designer Donna Karan hosted the opening gala for Nomad Two Worlds. The exhibit showcases a series of collaborative works of art between James and Indigenous Australian, Native American and Haitian artists, and is intended to foster the spirit of meaningful reconciliation.
As Australians living abroad, it’s not often that we get reminded of the complicated and conflicted reality of the Indigenous peoples in our country. This exhibition doesn’t dwell on the past, but instead optimistically looks forward with a unifying message that translates into other cultures beyond Australia, according the event’s official booklet.
“If we are to imagine a future together, then we must first reconcile our divided past, no matter how deep the wounds,” James said, in a press release.
While the exhibit also includes examples of James’ photography of famous models and performers, such as Heidi Klum, members of the Black Eyed Peas and Australian super models Miranda Kerr and Nicole Trunfio, many of the pieces focus on shape and form, local tribes-people and landscapes, shifting from celebrity toward the importance of artistic collaboration and the resulting collision of medium.
As well, the evening featured the anticipated unveiling of the new V Australia cabin crew uniforms, designed by Project Runway Australia winner, Juli Grbac. Billabout is excited to get on board a V Australia flight soon to see the chic and polished new uniforms in the air and in action.
By Angela Ledgerwood (Swagman)