Art and culture combine for art trail
WATCHING his 10-year-old son take a small troop of children down to a stream, make a fishing hook, snare an eel and then cook it himself left Coedie Tandy bursting with pride.
It was a moment that showed the father-of-two the cultural knowledge he has been imparting to his children is sinking in.
At 30 years old, Mr Tandy is part of a younger generation working to pass on an understanding of indigenous culture that could otherwise be lost.
Mr Tandy, in conjunction with the Granite Belt Art and Craft Trail, will be imparting his knowledge at four separate workshops this month.
Using stunning artwork and connecting to country, he has seen first-hand how building a sense of identity can keep young people off a troubled path.
“I think it’s been honed into me as a kid to find where you’re from,” Mr Tandy said. “I believe the knowledge, I know we need to pass it on or it dies.”
Growing up at Tenterfield, the Gamilaraay Jarrawoir man spent his childhood by the river with his grandparents learning stories and ways to survive.
His parents also encouraged his creative side, with his father teaching him to carve didgeridoos and his mother sharing her talent for painting.
Art became a way to help Mr Tandy stay on the straight and narrow.
Mr Tandy now pumps out a painting or carves a didgeridoo a day, which can take several hours.
He said visual art was a strong way to share stories as it had been a means of communication for indigenous people throughout history.
“Our culture was never written, it was always painted and on the rocks,” he said.
“We weren’t allowed to do any of that when we were settled.
“We had a language that is one of the most sophisticated in the world.”
This loss of culture is one of the reasons behind Mr Tandy’s commitment to sharing the culture with the next generation.
“I believe we should be teaching it in schools,” he said.
“A lot of the older guys don’t want to pass on the knowledge but I’ll teach anyone, it doesn’t matter,” Mr Tandy said.
Mr Tandy will be at the Granite Belt Meeting Place and Art Hub on October 19, 20, 26 and 27 from 10.30am-3.30pm each day.
Cost is from $50 with attendees getting a didgeridoo to take home. Classes are for ages 12 and up.
Dolly Jerome will also be sharing her indigenous culture with basket weaving classes across the same four days.
Running from 10am-4pm, cost is $65 and includes lunch. Tully De Vries will also host a workshop making ear rings from $20 at the same venue from 10am-4pm on October 19-20.