FOBIF tree show opens in Newstead

On Saturday 4 June, 50 people came out in the cold winter weather to attend the opening of the FOBIF photo show, Trees of the Mount Alexander Shire, at the Newstead Railway Arts Hub. There were lots of positive comments about the diversity and quality of exhibits and the slide show accompanied by Listening Earth recordings of local birdsong was also well-received.

Andrew Skeoch, president of the Hub’s Committee of Management, welcomed everyone and Bernard Slattery from FOBIF opened the show:

The aim of this exhibition is consistent with the stated intention of our first Mamunya festival in 1999, to ‘honour the native forests of our region’, and to keep faith with the original Mamunya statement, a Jaara incantation meaning ‘wait a while, don’t touch it, growing up.’

 Obviously the photographers exhibited here have a range of different approaches to their subjects, but a common theme is the expression of wonder or surprise at the subjects portrayed. This is a modest exhibition; the ego of the photographer has taken second place to the desire to keep faith with the object in view, to show its place in history or the wider geographical context. The photos here don’t pretend to high art, but they’re not simple snapshots: anyone familiar with the environmental history of this region will recognize that what’s represented here is a drama of destruction and renewal, of life and death. These aren’t trivial themes, but there’s nothing portentous about the way the material is presented: what we have is a careful attentiveness to the trees and the world they reflect and contain—and one which will reward careful attentiveness on the part of visitors to this terrific little gallery. 


Guests chatting at the opening (left) and Bernard Slattery addressing the crowd (right). Photos by John Ellis

 The show is open for two more weekends (18-19 and 25-26 June). Opening hours are 10am – 4 pm. Further details can be found here. Contact Bronwyn Silver (5475 1089) for more information.

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