Jody Deamer established Killcare’s Bouddi Gallery – Contemporary Aboriginal Art in 2007, to raise awareness of Australia’s Indigenous culture. Inside you’ll find an extensive range of entry-level Indigenous art by new and emerging artists from Aboriginal-owned Art Centres. Many of the pieces are normally unavailable outside Aboriginal communities.
The Indigenous artworks range from canvas, paper and bark paintings to homewares, fabrics, figurines, ceramics, carvings, glass, weavings, covered notebooks, gifts and jewellery – all at prices that the average customer can afford. In this sense, “entry-level” means that Bouddi Gallery is one of the few places where you don’t have to be a wealthy art collector to own or give something indigenous and authentic.
Jody’s personal and professional philosophy is: From little things, big things grow. She is a passionate advocate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and the contemporary issues these peoples face. In fact, the concept for Bouddi Gallery emerged in response to her growing frustration with the misinformation and misrepresentation of Aboriginal people that she felt underpinned a general ignorance and lack of understanding among non-indigenous Australians. As John F. Kennedy said, “The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.”
Her initial interest in Aboriginal art and culture began when she was an art student in the 1970s. In the 1980s, Jody worked in the live music industry alongside Aboriginal band Yothu Yindi. Incredibly moved by Aboriginal art and music, she realised her knowledge of Australia’s First Peoples was shockingly inadequate and embarked on a journey of self-education that included extensive travel and cultural exposure.
During this time, she developed relationships with Aboriginal-owned Art Centres and eventually, after a career in retail fashion management, marketing and business skills training, she relocated to NSW’s Central Coast and opened Bouddi Gallery. Jody sources the gallery’s art from Art Centres in the Kimberley, the Central and Western deserts, Arnhem Land and The Tiwi Islands.
When she spoke about her experiences with Aboriginal culture, Jody noticed most people had a genuine and enthusiastic desire to learn more themselves, but did not know how to subtly go about it. She says, “I came to realise that I had the perfect background and motivation to create an art space where people could be encouraged to ask questions without feeling foolish. And I could bring to the market the extraordinary range of art that I was so moved by on my trips to remote art communities.”
In order to expose Aboriginal people, their art and culture to a wider audience, Bouddi Gallery often hosts artists from remote communities, who talk about and demonstrate their art making in the gallery. These events have been widely attended and very effective.
Jody is most inspired by Mahatma Ghandi who believed, “We must become the change we want to see.” And so, she remains committed to encouraging non-indigenous Australians to raise their awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and become more active in their support for Australia’s First Peoples.
Jody runs Bouddi Gallery on a not-for-profit basis; money generated by sales goes back into broadening the Art Centres that the gallery represents. This means that Jody travels often and widely to remote areas, in order to build and maintain relationships. In 2011, she returned from a trip to the Tiwi Islands’ Art Centres with fabrics, painting and carvings, and she has a trip to remote Western Desert areas scheduled for 2012. Jody details her travel in her blog on Bouddi Gallery’s website.
Since opening Bouddi Gallery, Jody has achieved a reputation as a person of integrity in the Indigenous Art sector. She is currently formalising her interests by studying a Bachelor of Arts (Indigenous Studies), majoring in art. Jody regularly attends cultural, music and art festivals to ensure she is actively engaged in indigenous current affairs and uses Bouddi Gallery’s twitter account to keep its followers up-to-date on cultural events and important indigenous issues being discussed and aired in the media.
The Bouddi Gallery
5/1 Killcare Road,
Killcare NSW 2257
Tel: 0419 287 994