A textile and paintings exhibition from the People of the Reeds, Aboriginal artists of Cabbage Tree Island, will be held at the Cape Byron Lighthouse from Monday 22 December to Friday 13 February 2008.

“The community is invited to the opening on Monday 22 December 2008 at 11am at the Cape Byron Lighthouse,” said Yvonne Stewart, Trust Chairperson.

“The opening will include a fashion show by the teenagers from Cabbage Tree Island. It is a celebration of the colour and vitality of Cabbage Tree Island artists,” Yvonne said.

“The People of the Reeds exhibition at Cape Byron Lighthouse has become an annual event celebrated by the Aboriginal and Byron community giving visitors a glimpse of life on Cabbage Tree Island.

Cabbage Tree Island is an Aboriginal Community in the middle of the Richmond River near Wardell on the North Coast of New South Wales.

Aboriginal families from the local area established the community around 1865. It has been continuously home to the Bundjalung people of Cabbage Tree Island since that time.

“Known by the cultural name given to them by their Elders, ‘The People of the Reeds’, the artists paint and make textiles using the stories relevant to their cultural identity to express their cultural integrity,” Yvonne said.

“The painters tell the stories told to them by the Elders and the memories they have of growing up on the island.

“There is a strong connection to Mother Earth and the painters’ families that weaves a thread through all of the work.

“The show will include the textiles made by born and raised island women who have an intimate knowledge of the bush on their island and the surrounding region, where they spent their childhood exploring with their Elders.

“Through their work they express the importance of the bush for the food and medicine it supplies but more importantly their respect for the spiritual connection to their land, it flows through every fibre of their work.

“Throughout the creation of these beautiful textiles the women have hand-dyed the textiles (cotton, linen and silk) and applied printed images in many different mediums to tell the stories told to them by their ancestors on cloth.

“The artists are acutely aware of the continuum of their island culture. They use the earth, sky and sea colours together with images of the verdant bush and the fecund earth to express their cultural heritage.

“The women who work in the sewing centre have produced a beautiful range of homewares from tablecloths to curtains, blinds and lamps. Some of the pieces are collaborative works with a mix of skills blending colours to tantalise the senses.

“Come to the free opening event at the Cape Byron Lighthouse or visit the exhibition over the Summer holidays.

“This is ideal opportunity to purchase Bundjalung Aboriginal textiles and paintings that are inspired by our local environment.”