Aboriginal Programs

A Possum Skin Cloak By The Lake

1 October – 6 March 2001

A Possum Skin Cloak by the Lake was a significant cultural revival project developed in partnership with the ARG and local Aboriginal communities. The tradition of using possum skins for making cloaks, waistbands, belts, armbands and headbands was long practised by Aboriginal people across eastern Australia, including people from this region, as evidenced by The Hunter River Cloak (c.1850), held in the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, USA.

The Lake Cloak comprises 55 pelts. The central six panels pay tribute to Awabakal water-based stories and they are surrounded by personal water stories from over 30 Aboriginal participants from many nations, and embraced by an image of Biami extended across the collar.

An important aspect of the project was education, with many students attending workshops and tours supported by a comprehensive education resource, travelling suitcases and a DVD produced through the ABC’s Open Program.

The exhibition travelled to the Australian Museum, Sydney, from 18 March – 31 July where it was seen by over 50,000 people.

Project Partners: LMCAG, ARG, Lake Macquarie City Libraries

Project Team: artist, Doug Archibald; project coordinator, Donna Fernando; education consultants, Teagan Goolmeer with Cherie Johnson

A gallery project supported through Arts NSW’s ConnectEd Program and NSW Library Development Grant Program

Artwork: The Lake Cloak (detail) 2010-11 by Doug Archibald

artist Doug Archibald in
The Lake Cloak (detail) 2010-11
© the artists