Emotions high at indigenous art opening 

A CROWD of about 60 people attended the opening of the Kinchela Boys Home photographic exhibition in South Kempsey at the weekend. 

Mayor Liz Campbell, local and visiting indigenous elders and representatives as well as locals gathered at the Dunghutti-Ngaku Aboriginal Art Gallery on Saturday for what was described as “a very emotional day” by art gallery coordinator Jann Kesby.  

Starting at 11am, Ms Kesby said the day was not only about the photos by Sydney artist and photographer Sarah Baker, but an opportunity for elders to open the show with their touching stories. 

“Many of the men spoke about their experiences in the home and how those experiences have shaped their lives,” Ms Kesby said. 

“It was very well received. There was a strong crowd of indigenous and non-indigenous people who came along.  

“In a positive light it was very beneficial for the healing process for the men who were in the Kinchela Boys Home and the local community, as it is part of our local history.”

A welcome to country was conducted by local indigenous elder Harry 'Uncle Blue' Smith.

The exhibition’s photographic portraits document some of the indigenous men who grew up in the home between 1924 and 1970, at a time when some were forcibly removed from their familles and institutionalised as children.   

The exhibition is open to the public until June 2 at the gallery, next to the Visitor Information Centre in South Kempsey. 

The gallery is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 4pm. For more information phone 6562 1432. 

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