CULTURE ON SHOW: Artist Sean Kay in front of one of his paintings, Cape Dreaming at the Lighthouse Cottage.
CULTURE ON SHOW: Artist Sean Kay in front of one of his paintings, Cape Dreaming at the Lighthouse Cottage. Mireille Merlet-

Arakwal man tells his family's story through his artwork

INDIGENOUS Byron Bay artist Sean Kay finds the best inspiration for painting when walking on Arakwal "country" near Tallow Beach.

"To start a painting I go out to country and I think about my mother and my father and sister and uncles and all of the stories that have been told to me and the idea for a painting will arrive," he said.

"Painting is a way to connect with my culture."

Mr Kay will be among 12 Northern Rivers Indigenous artists exhibiting at the A&I Hall in Bangalow as part of the Bunarm Bologaman Wahl Bundjalung (Brothers Coming Together of the Bundjalung Nation) exhibition.

The show opens on Friday night and is on until March 30.

It will showcase more than 70 works by leading Bundjalung artists inspired by nuthung garra (their ancestors) and by traditional Bundjalung artefacts.

Mr Kay described the opportunity to exhibit alongside fellow Bundjalung artists as "inspirational".

"I know I will be learning so much from them; there will be a great connection and bonding as all the artists from different tribes come together," he said.

Mr Kay's paintings tell the story of his family's connection with the land; such as hunting for bush tucker on country near Tallow beach and lake.

"My grandfather used to hunt goannas and small wallabies there," Mr Kay said.

"They would camp down at Tallow Beach and live off the country.

"My grandmother had 13 kids and my grandfather would hunt crabs or fish for mullet and bream and eels.

"My grandmother would teach her kids how to eat bushfoods.

"Now that water (lake) is contaminated; we can't eat from there.

"Development has ruined that cultural connection, but I still paint the old stories so that my kids and their kids will know our stories.

Arts Northern Rivers CEO Peter Wood said the exhibition sits within the broader Bundjalung Project, funded by the Federal Government's Indigenous Visual Arts Support Program.


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