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Juanita McLauchlan

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Juanita McLauchlan is a Gamilarray woman living on Wiradjuri country Wagga Wagga. Her works are inspired by the journey of finding culture and family history through our environment and the connections to the land.

Stage One

Tell us about the evolution of your concept through this creative development process.

The idea was in the background. Busy hands helped me start the whole process. Printing and bush dying onto the blankets. I had some scraps of possum skins so I started playing. Bringing cultural and European together. It just happened. I started to create necklaces, large scale necklaces.

It’s hard to explain how my work develops. I see what is in front of me and I just work with it. I love to work with upcycled stuff. I have really enjoyed that –  finding the value in a woollen blanket. I find them soft and light. My necklaces are soft and light. The possum skin is soft, divine, cool to touch yet has this warmth to it.

I am a modern Gamilarray woman living on Wiradjuri country, of mixed heritage, holding onto culture and asking questions and seeking the truth.

What experts/community members did you connect with during your creative development?

I worked with Riverina artist and lecturer in creative arts and design at Charles Sturt University, Julie Montgarrett. She has been a big source of knowledge and information. Our relationship happens by osmosis. I love working with people who work differently. Who question me in a good way.

“Doors have opened up in so many ways for me. I would have never had the confidence to apply to the Windmill Trust without this experience. It’s validated my practice.”

– Juanita McLauchlan

Describe where your work has reached in the development process and how you can see it progressing.

The work entwines both possum skins and bush dyed woollen blankest. The work reflects the linearity and interconnection through time, looking backwards and forwards.  The necklaces entwine both materials, representing my mixed heritage. Each necklace represents a generation. I started off making 7 necklaces/generations. Now I have fifteen. Seven looking backwards and seven looking forwards into the future. I stand in the middle of two generations.

I didn’t think it would be this big! I wondered if I needed to do more. I have currently stopped. The necklaces are gifts to family members now, in the past and in the future. They can be worn as adornments and/or exhibited. Having them around your neck transports you back in time. Holding onto culture to understand where I am from.

If you were to tell someone about the impact of Regional Futures and this creative development opportunity on your practice, what would you say to them?

Doors have opened up in so many different ways for me. I don’t like publicity. I have a feeling where I wonder if my work is worthy. I like to fly under the radar. But then you are missing out on the critiques. Good and bad. I would find someone you can connect and talk with and just make. Open the door and let it swing. There are different ways that door can go. I would have never had the confidence to apply to the Windmill Trust without this experience. It’s validated my practice.


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Windmill Trust Scholarship (2022) for Regional NSW Artists

The Windmill Trust and the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) congratulate Juanita McLauchlan announced as the recipient of 25th annual scholarship for regional NSW artists.

McLauchlan will use the $10,000 scholarship to produce a new body of work which draws upon her Gamilaraay identity and family history to explore family connections through body adornment. The result of this enquiry will be Everywhen, a major solo exhibition at Wagga Wagga Gallery curated by Julie Ewington opening in May 2023.