Stop 9 of 20

Nicole Foreshew
Mambanha (the cry of mourning)

Creation date: 2021–22 Location: Gallery 12
View on map

Nicole Foreshew, Wiradjuri people, Mambanha (the cry of mourning) 2021–22, commissioned by the National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra for the 4th National Indigenous Art Triennial: Ceremony. Courtesy the artist.

Artist Nicole Foreshew on Mambanha (the cry of mourning)

Our natural environment can tell us a lot about what's happening that we may not be aware of.

I think the collective conscious around what ceremony is, is so important right now, not just with our environment, but who we are as people. We most desperately need to be the storytellers of our experience.

We have the ability to be able to connect and communicate and translate the changes that are happening and also our, just, deep love for each other and the earth that we're in.

That's the power of art – that it can transcend time, it can transcend place, and it can also transcend us, as a people.

And that's why it can be so incredibly powerful.

Mambanha (the cry of mourning) is an extract of a collaboration called Gemerre/Garraba that I did with Boorljoonngali. I titled the work Mambanha, a Wiradjuri word, a word that means so much, that means literally to cry or to mourn. And I feel like it wasn’t intentional, I just found a way to scale up and capture and harness my love for her. [The vessels] are really delicate and they’re of the earth as well. The red ochre is the ochre that was gifted to me when Boorljoonngali was alive, because we were just swapping things. I don’t really use red, but I was like, ‘Well, I’ve been given this by Boorljoonngali and I’m going to use it’, to pay respect to Boorljoonngali. Having multiples and just that repetition of making has been really healing for me, to just make something.

— Nicole Foreshew, 2021