Exhibition explores cultural stories behind proposed freight corridor.

Creating an artwork to represent the cultural connection to the land from Awaba in Lake Macquarie to Hexham in Newcastle was a two-year journey for local artist Saretta Fielding.

Saretta Fielding with the artwork that forms the centrepiece of her new exhibition at Lake Macquarie’s Museum of Art and Culture.

The result of that journey, and the stories behind it, are on exhibit until 26 September at the Museum of Art and Culture Lake Macquarie (MAC).

Yarns Parai – Stories on Country  is the result of a collaboration between Toronto-based Saretta Fielding, Transport for NSW, Professor John Maynard from the University of Newcastle (UoN), and local Aboriginal land councils and representatives.

Ms Fielding explained the idea was to create an artwork charting the cultural connection to land along the proposed Lower Hunter Freight Corridor – a freight-only rail line between Awaba and Hexham designed to bypass the busy commuter rail corridor from Fassifern to Hamilton.

It’s something that takes a bit of time. I like to let the information and research resonate, the knowledge and the conversations with elders and knowledge keepers resonate, and really let that evolve,” Ms Fielding said.

The result is a to-scale representation of the area, showing Lake Macquarie, Hexham wetlands, the Watagans and surrounding locations, with symbols overlaid reflecting flora, fauna, historical Aboriginal walking routes and culturally significant sites such as Munibung Hill.

Lake Macquarie City Council Arts Producer – Lake Arts Precinct Martina Mrongovius said the exhibition would include interactive elements, and a video projection created by the UoN’s Wollotuka Institute.

Saretta’s work evokes emotion, enhances connection to spirit and country, and invites the viewer to ponder and experience something new,” she said.

Also opening this weekend at MAC is an exhibition showcasing the breathtaking works of Arthur Boyd – one of Australia’s most celebrated 20th century artists.

Arthur Boyd: Landscape of the Soul  will feature 60 of the artist’s iconic expressionist and impressionist paintings, as well as never-before-seen sketches from his early career, and works completed in the period prior to his death in 1999.

The exhibition includes letters, photographs and sketchbooks charting Boyd’s life and artistic career.

Both exhibitions are on display until Sunday 26 September.

Go to mac.lakemac.com.au for more information.