Baluk Arts’ Gumbadik (Soft Tree Fern) project connected local Aboriginal people of diverse heritage to one of the few original natural environments of the Mornington Peninsula. Endeavour Fern Gully in Red Hill which is managed by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria), holds a rich history and cultural significance which captured the imagination of this important collective of Indigenous artists.
The artists of Baluk Arts explored photography and reclaiming their various Indigenous languages including Wathawurrung (Vic), Alyawarr (NT), Keerraywoorrong (Vic), Yorta Yorta (Vic), Gudang (Qld), and Palawa (Tas). The resulting group of exquisite works express their innate connection to country and celebrate the diversity of Aboriginal people in the Mornington Peninsula. Artists also used English when finding language was difficult or could better describe their experience. The local Boonwurrung word Gumbadik was chosen by the artists to respect the traditional owners of the country they were connecting to and describe the natural features of this special place. Gumbadik has many variations of spelling (Gumbada, Gumbadeek, etc) and is a word that carries across many of the Kulin languages of the Melbourne area.
The Gumbadik project nurtures understanding of experiences of people in times past, to make sense of the present, inform the future and build stronger appreciation of Aboriginal people and culture today.