Bristol 24/7

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By BETTY WOOLERTON, Friday May 20, 2022

A woman inspired by her Aboriginal heritage is opening a gallery in Bristol.

Connecting with her roots, and activist father Paul Coe, the 26-year-old began to make art inspired by the history and culture of Aboriginal people.

Jasmine is now opening Coe Gallery, which will be the UK’s first indigenous-owned Aboriginal gallery.

“It is important to have a space that is Aboriginal-owned and artist-led. I want all the artists to have their voices heard and have a say in the direction and duration of the work,” she told Bristol24/7.

The space will be dedicated to display the works of emerging Aboriginal artists, including Sandon Gibbs O’Neil, a Nhunggabarra artist from Australia.

Jasmine reconnected with her father in 2016 after two decades apart – photo: Jasmine Coe

The gallery is named after Paul Coe, who has been involved in Aboriginal justice campaigns and the Aboriginal Land Rights movement since the 70s.

Jasmine said: “Activism runs through my father’s family, my art becomes a place where I can learn about the history of my culture and what my family have stood for,” she said.

She said it was important to open the gallery in Bristol as a way to “regain control” of our city’s colonial roots.

“As a culture that suffered such oppression, we want to show in the UK – the country that colonised it, it’s still a beautiful culture that is so rich, and there’s so much to learn in terms of sustainability,” she explained.

Jasmine added: “In Bristol, the historical narrative has been shifted in the last few years. It feels there’s a time of change where voices are really being listened to so now’s the time for these artists to be able to share their stories.”

Jasmine said she wants Bristol to know more about the Aboriginal experience – photo: Betty Woolerton

A pop-up exhibition opens on July 12 to 29 at The Vestibules, with the support of Bridging Histories and University of Bristol, until a permanent space has been found.

Main photo: Betty Woolerton

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