The Visitor Centre Gallery of the National Botanic Gardens are hosting an exhibition of Duncan Smith’s works based around the Wiradjuri Scar Trees.
Duncan Smith, a Wiradjuri man from central western NSW and a well-known professional artist of traditional and contemporary art, explores traditional patterns from Scar Trees and transposes them onto canvas.
The exhibition also consists of black and white photos of the Scar Trees which were marked throughout Wiradjuri country. Most of these trees have been cut down over the last 100 years – some placed in major museums around Australia.
Scar Trees were very important to the Wiradjuri people. They marked significant areas such as grave sites, Abrora rings (places of initiation where boys became men and girls became women) , Corroboree grounds ( dance grounds) , meeting places , hunting grounds, significant water ground and borders of where tribes ended and started. Wiradjuri men would cut a shield, canoe or coolamon from the bark of the trees, and then carve into the remaining tree ‘scar’ with certain song lines (eg patterns and lines).
[Image from Australian National Botanic Gardens website]