EXHIBITION / A PART OF IT ALL BY SHAUN ALLEN
A Part Of It All exhibited at Laundry Gallery in Darwin is the first solo exhibition on Larrakia Country in the Northern Territory by Yugambeh-born Bundjalung artist Shaun Daniel Allen (Shal). Shal’s time on Larrakia Country has centred itself on the spirit of knowledge exchange, cultural collaboration and perpetuating traditional techniques through education and connection to country.
As his first time in the Northern Territory, the visitation of sacred sites took priority in the process of connecting to the country and people of the Larrakia, and the surrounding nations of Arnhem Land. The works presented in A part of It All operate as experiential reflections of Shal’s journey on country, with each facet sharing the immense depth of every interaction.
The pieces are a synthesis of Shal’s Balun line-work paintings of spiritual riverine topographies with new techniques, materials and experiences imparted to him by teachers of all visages during his in-field immersion. Dyes drawn out of cooked-down coconut husks and tree roots, inks pulled from the foliage of the native trees and flowering plants in play act as the base for a series of dyed hanging fabric works of a site-specific nature, their compositions infused with the essence of Country and Shal’s dialogue with it.
This is the second presentation of dyed fabrics after Shal’s solo exhibition NYANYAHLILA, in which he sought the tutelage of peer and fellow artist Norton Fredericks, to learn techniques to extract natural inks out of native flora. A part of It All carries on this legacy by extending Shal’s practice through new extractive methodologies taught to him by Aunty Rose, a master weaver and Elder from Milingimbi, the largest of the Crocodile Islands off the West Arnhem Land coast.
Sharing time with numerous Elders, culture keepers and artisans of Arnhem Land and the wider Larrakia nation, the works open cultural dialogues in the spirit of collaboration and possess the strength of self-determination, forging new vessels of shared knowledge and artistic expression.