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Buugang – A Weaving by Artist Jessika Spencer

This week, as we proudly support and celebrate National Reconciliation Week, we also mark the upcoming publication of our newly endorsed Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). This new phase represents a dynamic progression from our Reflect RAP, empowering us to delve deeper into our sphere of influence and continue to work towards reconciliation.

The National Reconciliation Week theme for 2024, Now More Than Ever, is a reminder to all of us that no matter what, the fight for justice and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will —and must —continue.

COX Indigenous Engagement Lead, Kyran Dixon

Our Innovate RAP seeks to embrace a proactive approach to problem-solving. Through this plan, we reaffirm our commitment to investing in relationships with First Nations peoples and creating physically and socially safe and respectful spaces.

Our Innovate RAP features artwork by First Nations weaver, writer, and activist Jessika Spencer. A Wiradjuri woman from the Sand Hills of Narrungdera (Narrandera), Jessika has spent the last decade residing on Ngunnawal Country where she currently creates her art.

As an Aboriginal woman, culture and art are intricately intertwined for her, serving as ongoing sources of inspiration. Her artistic focus has long been fibre art, crafting unique pieces with sustainable materials collected consciously from the land.

Below: previous works by Jessika Spencer, including from her exhibition ‘On Becoming,’ shown at the COX Gallery last year.

The concept for ‘Buugang,’ the woven Bogong moth, emerged from discussions between Jessika and COX about our Reconciliation Action Plan.

Artist, Jessika Spencer

Just as COX had completed the first stage of their RAP, with the second stage emerging, the Bogong Moth Had just made this huge trip from the top of Australia to the Canberra Mountains and were hibernating for their next big movement. To me, that echoed where COX was at!

In addition to its symbolism, Jessica aimed to integrate sustainable methods into the artwork. Using an earthy colour palette inspired by the moss and landscape of Ngunnawal country, she employed Eco Dyeing techniques. Materials like fallen eucalypt leaves, bark, and even dirt contributed to the rich hues, along with vegetables, fruits, and herbs.

Collaborating with her father, also a talented Aboriginal artist, they utilised laser-cut plywood to create the moth’s outline, integrating traditional craftsmanship with modern technology. Also working alongside her aunties in the process, Jessika said the artwork is truly infused with collective love and support, reflecting the collaborative spirit inherent in her culture.

Discover more in the interview with Jessika below.

COX’s Innovate RAP will be launched this Friday, 31st May.