About the Exhibition 

For this Visual Arts and multimedia exhibition starting February 17th 2020 we welcome Camellia Johnson Boney is a respected Aboriginal artist and elder, to show her works and use the space as a base to connect with her people and the wider community of Sydney. 

Muddy Water Meet Salt Water at Cubby Space is Camellia’s first solo exhibition.

Important Dates 

Exhibition: 17th – 23rd February 2020
Opening night: Wednesday 19th February 2020, 6-8pm
Afternoon tea with the artist and performance: Sunday 23rd Feb, 3pm-5pm
A performance by Marcia Howard (Goanna) singing Save the Rivers, Yaama Ngunna Baaka, will be a highlight. We’ll have a small tea station or BYO coffee etc. 

About the artist: Camellia Johnson Boney 

Camellia Johnson Boney, a.k.a. “Mookoo”, is a proud Gomeroi/Muruwari/Kooma woman. She is the great niece of the Muruwari (Weilmoringle) rainmakers, who danced to break the drought in 1968.

Camellia Johnson (photo by Sharon Hickey)

Born to the Ngemba people of Brewarrina on 16 September 1969, the youngest girl of ten children, Camellia’s childhood memories are of days spent swimming in the Namoi and Barwon rivers.

“It was magic. We swam, caught fish and yabbies and went mussel diving in the river”.

Her family lived off the land – as well as bush tucker (snottygobble, wattle, honey bee, yellow belly) a market garden was cultivated with corn, radishes, pumpkins, beetroots and other vegetables grown. There were pigs, horses, and two milking cows, Angora goats and a yabby farm. Camellia’s parents, siblings and surrounding knowledgeable elders were her teachers.

“We drew from charcoal on the tin… two plus two equals four … that’s how we used to teach each other. We mixed the mud up, the dirt… painted our bodies”

Respect was ingrained from an early age and art was always with her too. Today Camellia is a talented multi-media artist who is invited to exhibit in galleries and has work commissioned for commercial premises. Her art practice is deeply embedded and guided by her old people. An immersion in putting paint on canvas can later reveal the face or form of an ancestor. 

“My spiritual realm first and foremost is the birthing to my country, my god is the Father Sky who birthed the Mother Earth. As a First Nation’s woman, I have been delivered”.

Camellia Boney

Career Highlights: 

  • Featured artist and member of Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-Operative, Leichhardt
  • Voice, Treaty, Truth, Boomalli, 2019
  • Warriors for the Environment, Boomalli, 2019
  • Healing Ourselves, Healing Our Country, Boomalli, 2019 
  • Anarchy and Alchemy, Boomalli, 2019
  • Born into Existence, Boomalli, 2018
  • Ocean Blue, Shanty Chicks Gallery, 2015
  • Mixed Messages, Watt Space, 2010
  • Surroundings: Take a Closer Look, University of Newcastle, 2009
  • Muddy Water Fashion Show (support artist), ABC and Walgett College, 2005
  • Café 64, Walgett, Aboriginal Medical Service, Walgett, Blueys Hotel, Lightning Ridge, and local businesses in Newcastle have commissioned various works. Traditional paintings included yabbies, platypus, yellow belly fish, opal dreaming (pula pula); 2007 – present 
  • Best Employment Ltd. – working with highly disadvantaged youth in Walgett through the Links to Learning program (funded by Department of Education and Training) involved teaching a group of up to ten young Indigenous students the art of jewellery making, demonstrating strong leadership and motivational skills, the participant’s self-confidence, team work skills and most importantly their literacy and numeracy skills were all enhanced, 2005.
  • Camellia ran her own Jewellery business, incorporating global beads and traditional seeds, 2004

Education: 

  • Graduated with an Advanced Diploma of Visual Arts, TAFE NSW (Newcastle), achieved Distinction level. (Photography, printmaking, sculpture, drawing, painting). 2015
  • Enrolled in Bachelor of Fine Arts, University of Newcastle; exhibited in several art exhibitions on campus and Watt-Space gallery, 2010
  • Certificate of Aboriginal Cultural Practice, Walgett College, 2010
  • YUPUG program graduate, 2010
  • Education Pathways Award; Certificate of Achievement, YUPUG, 2010 

Camellia is a cultural ambassador and respected educator with strong involvement in community arts projects: 

  • Save The Rivers, Yaama Ngunna Baaka, by singer songwriter Marcia Howard and Nadie Sunde, Zardi O’Connell and John Sutton, was dedicated to Camellia and the women of the Kamilaroi, Ngemba, Uakari, Muruwari, Wailwan, Yuwaalaraay, Wanggamurr and Barkindji nations, 2019.
  • Learn Earn Legend! A program helping Aboriginal children develop through football – as first inaugural artist, alongside renowned artist Mini Heath, Camellia worked with the community in Walgett on a banner that was represented at the NRL All-Stars, 2011
  • Biami Dreaming Trail, Walgett Shire Council, panel member
  • Norman Walford Walkway mural commissioned for local water pump; co-ordinating community involvement 
  • Walgett Shire Council, school holiday programs, teaching art to children, Skillshare 
  • 40-year anniversary of 1965 Freedom Rides; Camellia was local ambassador in Walgett, 2005
  • Training local Aboriginal elders in CDEP and jewellery making; also working with Yaama Maliyaa education – Camellia’s students won the Regional, Western Division excellence awards, 2004 & 2005:
  • Western Division Education – at the age of 11, Camellia was recognised and selected to be a part of a cultural heritage program and film, taken on country and shown traditional values, language and kinship, 1980

Favourite artist: Frida Kahlo 

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