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A new gallery opens in Ballarat to support local First Nation artists

Words by Jay Dillon
Images supplied

You know there’s a need for a gallery space when local artists keep bringing in work and asking if theres is somewhere it can be displayed.

That was the experience for The Ballarat & District Aboriginal Cooperative (BADAC).  Gallery Manager, Sue Clark states ‘we had a lot of local community members bringing their artwork to the organisation, and not knowing what else to do with it.’

‘BADAC’s CEO, Karen Heap supported the idea of applying for a grant from the Living Local Regional Grants, and the proposal for an Art Gallery being approved for $200,000, we commenced developing a Gallery.’

One of Ballarat’s heritage buildings from the 1800’s was secured as the perfect site for the new gallery as it backs onto the BADAC’s buildings and is only a two minute walk from the Art Gallery of Ballarat.

‘We really wanted to create a relaxed space with native grasses and river stone features. So when you walk in, it really looks like you’re walking on country’. Sue informs us.

Local artists currently on display include Jared Guy, a local Aboriginal man who combines traditional dot work in a kaleidoscope of colours to create artwork that is a means for personal healing.

Adrian Rigney draws uses oil on canvas to  represent the landscape of his Mother’s country in the Wimmera. Adrian has been an artist for more than 20 years and is also a member of the Pitcha Makin Fellas, a deadly artist mob who have had work shown at the National Gallery of Victoria and Federation University.

As Sue tells us; the work that appears in the space is very much driven by the community. ‘We have a diverse range of items, including carved eggs, painted eggs, woven baskets, and kangaroo skins that have been etched. There’s no real set plan, whatever the artists bring in that’s what will be displayed.

Ballarat First Nations Gallery

Ballarat sits on Wadawurrung land. The local Aboriginal community was greatly affected by stolen generations. Perridak (Platypus in Wadawurrung Language) was chosen as the name for the gallery, as just like the platypus with its many different parts, the Ballarat Aboriginal community is now diverse and unique.

Purchasing work from Perridak is an opportunity for visitors to invest in both authentic artwork as well as contributing to the future of the First Nations community. 75% of the proceeds go directly to the artists, with the remaining 25% going to BADAC’s community support programs.

It is hoped the gallery will provide local artists direct reward for their cultural knowledge and artistic abilities and support the ongoing work of BADAC to provide services to the community.


What: Perridak Arts – A First Nation’s art gallery operated by the Ballarat & District Aboriginal Cooperative
Where: 2/214 Mair Street, Ballarat
When: Open from 10am to 4pm from Tuesday to Saturday
More Info: Perridak Arts

We wish to acknowledge the Wadawurrung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.
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