BENDIGO'S celebration of Indigenous heritage and art has overflown from View Street to nearby MacKenzie Street.
The expansion of the city's NAIDOC Week art attractions has strengthened calls for a permanent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art gallery in Bendigo's arts precinct.
Around the corner from the Knuldoorong Art Exhibition at Dudley House on View Street is the Bendigo Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Fair.
The former All Saints Cathedral at the corner of Forest and MacKenzie streets has been temporarily transformed into an exhibition space, with pieces by local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists adorning the building's walls and some of its floor space.
The fair's curator, Janet Bromley, said the art fair was created in response to an excess of art deserving of an audience, and from the kindness of the old cathedral's owners.
"[They] asked if we wanted to do something with this space for NAIDOC Week," Ms Bromley said.
Displayed for all to see and appreciate today were artworks including paintings, weaving, jewellery, sculpture, prints and photography.
Also in attendance were some of the artists.
Ms Bromley said all of the artists involved in both the Knuldoorong Art Exhibition and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Fair had a connection to the region.
Some of the works were by Indigenous people who were incarcerated at the Loddon, Middleton and Tarrengower prisons. The art fair worked with The Torch to display the works.
The Torch helps connect Indigenous offenders and ex-offenders with their culture and identity through art and creates opportunities for them to generate income through selling their artworks.
This year's Bendigo NAIDOC Week program consists of a number of art exhibitions, shows and fairs.
"Art is very deep in our culture as Aboriginal people," Ms Bromley said.
She said practices such as symbolism and mark-making had been happening for thousands and thousands of years.
Officially opening the Bendigo Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Fair, artist Anne Conway traced the roots of the city's NAIDOC Week art attractions to a small group of people who banded together in the late 90s.
Ms Bromley was hopeful there would one day be a space in Bendigo dedicated to showcasing the talents of the region's Indigenous artists all throughout the year, not just during NAIDOC Week.
Her vision was specific: Ms Bromley wanted it to be an art gallery, where people could also buy pieces, and for it to be on View Street - the heart of Bendigo's arts precinct.
"It shocks me there's not one here already," she said.
She said international visitors were often surprised, too, and cited Kaiela Arts Shepparton as an example of what could be achieved.
Bendigo NAIDOC Week chair Aunty Lyn Warren said she was so proud of the work of the executive committee and general committee, with a bumper program of events planned for the week.
"Everybody's been so great with everything," she said.
Voice, Treaty, Truth is the theme of NAIDOC Week 2019.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Fair is on from 11am - 4pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between July 5 - 14, at 14 MacKenzie Street, Bendigo.
Knuldoorong Art Exhibition is on from 11am - 4pm on July 5-14 at Dudley House, which is at 60 View Street, Bendigo.
For the full Bendigo NAIDOC Week program, click here.
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