Albert (Digby) Moran with one of his paintings, Bundjalung Boondies, 2012
Currently showing at the Northern Rivers Community Gallery in Ballina is a solo exhibition by leading Bundjalung artist Digby Moran. This significant exhibition, titled Bundjalung Dreaming, includes outstanding examples of his work from the past decade.
Digby was born in Ballina in 1948 and grew up on Cabbage Tree Island. He started painting later in life (having previously worked as a harvester and a professional boxer) and apart from attending a TAFE course in 1991 is a self-taught artist.
Over the past two decades Digby has worked prolifically and has been embraced by local, national and international audiences, including several solo and group shows in Germany, Austria and Sweden.
During his artistic career Digby has experimented with a range of styles, including the well-known ‘dot style’; flickered paint; complex layering of swirls, lines and dots; painting on hessian sacks and lino-block printing. Each of these approaches is represented in the exhibition.
Most significantly though, the exhibition features Digby’s latest body of work, in which we see complex arrangements of concentric diamond shapes. Described by Lois Randall, creative industry consultant and former CEO of Arts Northern Rivers, as ‘a contemporary response to traditional Bundjalung culture and his most important works to date’.
In an interview with Ms Randall, Digby says that his change in style was inspired by viewing three rare Bundjalung clubs from the 1850s; two traditional clubs and a spear-shaped club featuring a carved diamond pattern.
‘We have a rich Bundjalung culture. It was a real good feeling to see the clubs from this area and the diamond art that was on them. It made me realise I have been seeing diamond patterns all my life… in the mud flats, in the sand, in the tide, scarred into the trees,’ Digby said.
The clubs, on loan from Grafton Regional Gallery, are featured in the exhibition alongside the paintings they have inspired.
The exhibition continues until Sunday 2 September.
The Gallery is open Wednesdays to Fridays from 10am to 4pm and weekends from 9.30am to 2.30pm. The Gallery is closed on public holidays.