Art inspired by family

Indigenous artist John Secombe has a new exhibition at the Global Learning Centre in Sunbury. Photo by Damjan Janevski. 242148_01

By Oliver Lees

A collection of traditional Indigenous paintings and drawings is now on display at the Hume Global Learning Centre in Sunbury.

Gariwerd man John Secombe’s exhibit, entitled Jardwar Dilli Art, features a range of pieces which reference the artist’s connection to the Grampians.

Secombe said growing up in Horsham had a big impact on his art, which he started to produce regularly during COVID-19 lockdown.

“Growing up in Horsham and moving to Halls Gap for work, I was able to learn more about my culture and how to stand on my own two feet working as well,” Secombe said.

“Working with Parks Victoria at a young age, I was doing cultural heritage and conservation work, looking for new cultural sites as well.

“I started to express my stories during lockdown, that’s when it all started coming out. This is the first time I’ve ever had [an exhibition] before.”

Gariwerd country, which incorporates the Grampians, has been an area of cultural significance for the Djab Wurrung and Jardwadjali people for centuries.

According to the Budja Budja Aboriginal Co-operative, Gariwerd country contains 90 per cent of Indigenous rock art sites in Victoria.

Now living in Diggers Rest, Secombe said he’s looking forward to visiting the gallery in person and sharing his story with visitors.

“My favourite piece would have to be the one of my grandma, called Old Girl Jelly Dreaming, she was very special to me and that painting reminds me of her,” he said.

“A lot of my work is related to family because to me, that’s the most important thing.”

The exhibit will be on display at the Hume Global Learning Centre on Macedon Street until Sunday, August 29.