Safe Keeping

" These were collected by Vic Cox throughout his time spent exploring the coastline of the west Kimberley. Many of these tools were identified by place names that were familiar to Breckon and she knew that these were objects of significance; objects that had been collected and relocated. They had been taken from their homes, from their keeping places."   Glenn Iseger-Pilkington

This exhibition presents the Worrorra stone tools collected by Kimberley bushman Vic Cox and asks the question If a stone tool is found what you should do?

In 2015 I moved onto a ten-acre bush block in the Kimberley the deceased estate of Vic Cox, a well-known bushman, and crocodile hunter. Vic was a scavenger, and his property contained collections of found and traded objects from the Kimberley coast. Among the collections, we found buckets containing stone tools some marked with a location and date linking the tools to the Worrorra language group.
The collection contains a selection of handmade tools designed for living off the land, cores for creating smaller flakes and unfinished pieces. The entire collection has been checked for cultural restrictions and deemed safe for display by senior members of the Worrorra language group Nyorna (Donny) Woolagoodja, Janet Oobagooma, members of Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre and Whadjuk, Noongar elder Barry McGuire for the Fremantle Safe Keeping exhibition.
It was through conversations with respected Worrorra cultural advisors, artists, remote community archive networks across the top end of Australia, geologists and anthropologists working in the Kimberley, that I became aware of the cultural and environmental concerns relating to the removal of significant objects from custodial lands. As tourism and mining industries are accessing Australia's most remote and significant sites, how do custodians protect their cultural heritage?

Vic Cox loved the Kimberley coast and had respect for Worrorra Country and friendships with Worrorra people. Vic's story is his own and these tools whether found, traded or gifted came to live on his old bush block, discovered and returned to their custodians and now a catalyst for voicing a simple but important message " Leave it as it is."


Supported by Culture and the Arts WA. Early development supported by Country Arts WA

Monoprints available through artists stockroom and Fox Galleries

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