Introducing Dylan Sarra

We are excited to announce our latest publishing project with Taribelang artist, Dylan Sarra

** Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander readers are advised that this post may contain the images , names and voices of people who have died.

Dylan Sarra working on  Tale of Three Boomerangs

Dylan Sarra working on Tale of Three Boomerangs

Currently residing in Brisbane, Dylan Sarra is originally from Bundaberg and belongs to the Taribelang people of Central Queensland. The body of work that Dylan is creating with Grey Hand Press explores his cultural ties to his home, and more specifically refers to artefacts from the Bundaberg region that hold personal and cultural significance to Dylan’s family and his indigenous heritage.

In 1972, approximately 92 blocks of engraved sandstone were removed from an aboriginal art site at the confluence of the Burnett River and Pine Creek, just 30km west of the town of Bundaberg. The engraved motifs included animal and human tracks and geometrical designs executed in a variety of techniques and designs. These carvings were removed by the Queensland state government under the Aboriginal Relics Preservation Act 1967 to mitigate the effects of flooding on the site, and these relics were subsequently scattered across southeast Queensland to universities, Aboriginal communities, local historical societies and government instrumentalities with no provision made for continuing preservation or protection.

Sandstone carvings from the Burnett River and Pine Creek art site. Image courtesy Dylan Sarra

Sandstone carvings from the Burnett River and Pine Creek art site. Image courtesy Dylan Sarra

Video courtesy of the Queensland State Archives. Video showing a group of men uncovering and working to safely move the Aboriginal rock carvings found near Burnett River in 1972

John Broom, Dylan’s great, great grandfather. Image courtesy Dylan Sarra

John Broom, Dylan’s great, great grandfather. Image courtesy Dylan Sarra

The imagery of three boomerangs references Dylan’s great, great grandfather, John Broom — an initiated man of the Taribelang Bunda people, the place and people for which the city of Bundaberg is named for. John Broom had the image of three boomerangs carved onto his chest, which bore striking resemblance to the rock carvings present in the removed sandstone relics from the Burnett River.

During the production of The Tale of Three Boomerangs, Dylan traveled north to Bundaberg and had three boomerangs custom made from foraged spotted gum timber. The timber was textured and manipulated, before being inked and printed as a wood intaglio.

 Dylan has also produced three lithographs with Grey Hand Press, which feature portraits of young Aboriginal people.

The portraits were inspired by Picasso’s method of line drawings and the way he captured subject and movement in the simplicity of form. I’ve started to develop that idea further in my own practice by developing a series of portraits that portray indigenous youth. By focusing certain features and keeping the line work minimal, it has allowed me to capture a picture of youth and identify a culture of our Aboriginal people.

Each portrait is limited to an edition of ten and five collector’s boxed suites (available upon series completion), printed on Japanese Kitikata Select.

Detail: Spotted gum boomerangs in progress

Detail: Spotted gum boomerangs in progress

Dylan Sarra  Portrait II  (2019). 43 x 52cm. Lithograph on Kitikata Select. Image: Grey Hand Press

Dylan Sarra Portrait II (2019). 43 x 52cm. Lithograph on Kitikata Select. Image: Grey Hand Press

The Tale of Three Boomerangs is the first in the series of Boomerang prints by Dylan, and we anticipate more iterations to come in the coming months, along with another body of work based around artefacts from the Bundaberg region. We are currently accepting orders for the portrait lithographs, and The Tale of Three Boomerangs , which is limited to an edition of five only. Contact us at info[at]greyhandpress.com for information about ordering.

This artwork is a reflection of [my] ongoing journey in continuing to connect the stories of my place, and share them with the wider community

– Dylan Sarra, 2019.