The Henderson gallery now Birrunga Gallery and Dining was opened by Queensland Deputy Premier Jackie Trad on 16th July 2016. The gallery is artists for artists, 100% Wiradjuri, First Nations owned and self funded, operating within an empathic, self-determinate model of enterprise. As such we rely on sales of product and fee for service to fund our venture. We offer our attitude, example, standards, mindset, strategies, values and vision to our cohort, supporters and greater community.
Our predominant focus is to support, promote, manage, exhibit, develop, advocate on behalf of, educate and mentor artists and audiences who would otherwise not have the opportunity. We are specifically focused on working with First Nations artists, artists who are or were prisoners, first time exhibitors, and a diverse cohort of First Nations and non First nations artists outside of these demographics, at local, state and international levels, whose work we love and for whom we want success.
Robert Henderson, Wiradjuri. Principal practising artist at/owner of The Henderson: Gallery, Cafe, Events, Education + Birrang Dining, 300 Adelaide St, Brisbane City QLD 4000. Produces original narrative works drawn from Wiradjuri Culture, history, spirituality; Portraiture; Commission works by request.
Their passion for exceptional coffee and fair treatment for all makes them a perfect partner for Birrunga Gallery and Dining. Every Friday we do happy hour from 4:30 to 6pm with live music and good vibes.
“As an ‘Indigenous’ man of the Wiradjuri Nation I had little knowledge of my People and even less about the spirituality of my People. Though I had an interest in art for the past 10 years, I didn’t start painting until a few years ago, this is when a very spiritual thing occurred within my art. As I painted a piece and then sat back and looked at it I saw within it a connection to my Peoples’ Spirituality. This then led to the next piece and this continued I had completed 16 pieces of work. The story or the Spirituality centred on the extermination of my People.
Without forethought in my work it indicated places, times and methods of extermination. As I started these paintings I had not set out to paint this. An example of this would be in the painting #9 where after completion it was suggested that I take a photograph of the piece in black and white. When I did this a star formation stood out. I then took this to an astrophysicist who confirmed that this star formation would have been visible in the heavens at the time (1823-27) and the place that my People were being massacred. I believe I was being taught and educated into the Spirituality and pain of my People.
This also lead to me working with other First Nations People in WA and NT and helping wherever I’m able. My recent works have now included an entry into the 2014 Archibald Prize which is a painting of Archie Roach and has also lead to some dynamic works of my Totem and other significant pieces relating to different areas of Aboriginality and stories that my Ancestors have told me. This continues to be my direction at this time and who knows in the future, as I learn more this may change and I am looking forward to that. My major exhibition in Pigneto, Rome, Italy was postponed in 2015. Since then I have participated in major prizes in Australia as well as curating, running and exhibiting in an Independent Arts Exhibition at Boggo Road Gaol, Brisbane, Australia, August 2015 – June 2016.