Lorraine Brigdale

To speak of my ochre work is to speak of my ancestors, my people, my country. There is something mystical about preparing and painting with ochre. A sense of peace and timelessness descends, moving me to ‘deep listening’. ‘Gulpa Ngawal’ - Deep Listening (in Yorta Yorta language).”

A proud Yorta Yorta woman and award winning artist living on Dja Dja Wurrung country, Lorraine has developed a process of working with hand prepared ochre and mineral watercolours in contemporary art making. Her creative curiosity has led her to combine her weaving practice together with her ochre work as a natural progression in her art making journey.

Lorraine’s creative journey & discovery of her Aboriginal family is undeniably linked, the years developing her ochre art explorations and weaving practice, alongside a growing knowledge around her Aboriginal family and culture bring her a sense of meaning and belonging.

Having my hands in ochre, many thousands of years in the making, connects me directly to the Ancestors. I learn its language and how it behaves in contemporary explorations of an age old medium. My weaving practice centres around coil basketry, a traditional south eastern Australian Aboriginal weaving style.”

Lorraine’s family story is part of a contemporary Australian conversation of family, connection and place, her maternal family line originates in the Yorta Yorta Language Ulupna Clan. Her grandmother (Dorothy) born on Yorta Yorta country and grown up on Country at Cummeragunga Aboriginal Mission, left the mission with her husband and never saw her family again as a result of Colonial regulations. Lorraines mother knew little of her Aboriginal ancestry, but a family line search gave more of Dorothys story. As this knowledge grows, Lorraine digs her hands deeper into ochre, gaining a sense of belonging. The urges experienced all her life, to make art and craft, to connect with country, and the whispers from ancestors now make more sense to her.

My hands in ochre, many thousands of years old, connect me directly to the Ancestors, it’s my country’s way of calling me home”

Brigdale has exhibited her work in many settings, including Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne (2021); Dudley House, Bendigo (2021, 2019, 2018); Central Goldfields Art Gallery (2021); and the Koorie Heritage Trust (2020, 2019). In 2020, she was the recipient of the Viva Energy Australia 3D Award at the Koorie Art Show for her work Yenbena Munalibic, an interpretation of burial poles and an homage to the resilience and strength of Aboriginal peoples.