Illuminating Culture on Gumbaynggirr Country
Nestled in the heart of the Coffs Coast’s vibrant CBD in Coffs Harbour lies Yarrila Arts and Museum (YAM), a beacon of cultural enrichment and heritage proudly situated on Gumbaynggirr Country. Established in September 2023, YAM serves as the cornerstone of Yarrila Place, a contemporary cultural hub designed by local architect Matthew Blair of BVN Architecture. This innovative space revolves around a majestic 150-year-old Hill’s Weeping Fig tree, symbolizing unity with nature and heritage.
The name ‘Yarrila,’ pronounced YA-re-la, embodies the essence of illumination, encapsulating YAM’s mission to shed light on knowledge, arts, heritage, and community creativity. It stands as a testament to decades of dedication, with its origins tracing back to the inception of the first museum in 1980, and the acquisition of the inaugural artwork by the Council in 1974. Over the years, this commitment has fostered a collection of over 18,000 objects, artifacts, archives, and more than 600 artworks.
YAM presents five distinct exhibition spaces, headlined by ‘Yaamanga Around here,’ a permanent exhibit showcasing the museum and gallery collections. Complementing this centerpiece are four dynamic spaces hosting rotating exhibitions, often featuring pieces from YAM’s esteemed collections.
‘Yaamanga Around here’ is a captivating journey through the history and identity of the Coffs Coast, weaving together objects, artworks, and compelling narratives. One notable feature is ‘Daalga Nginundi Wajaarr Sing Your Country,’ a creation by ZAKPAGE, renowned storytellers merging film, sculpture, design, and architecture. This artwork is a tribute to the Gumbaynggirr people, honouring their ancestral lands and cultural wisdom.
YAM’s exhibition program encompasses a diverse array of local, regional, and curated displays spanning art, social history, and natural heritage. The space regularly transforms to offer a fresh and enriching experience for all visitors. Embracing innovation, YAM’s digital exhibition area invites groundbreaking digital art challenging the boundaries of storytelling and artistic expression.
Yarrila Arts and Museum extends a warm invitation to explore the richness of Gumbaynggirr Country and immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of art, history, and culture. Additionally, delve into YAM’s extensive collection via Coffs Collections, a digital archive featuring over 18,000 items, including artworks, artifacts, and archives encapsulating the experiences that have shaped the dynamic Coffs community.