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Name: Doolmarria Louise Mengil

Doolmarria Louise Mengil - Being part of the Canning Stock Route Project [ORAL HISTORY]


Synopsis: Louise talks about her experience as an emerging curator on the Canning Stock Route Project. She explains how she has learned how to look at a painting, and about mapping paintings to the CSR. She talks about the curatorial process and what it has been like working with Wally, Terry and Hayley. She says curating is like a sport - it's competitive. She talks about her hopes for the future and how the curators have helped each other: we're all inspiration to each other.

Date: 4/12/2008
Art centre(s):
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_189_Louise_Mengil
Interviewed By: Clint Dixon
Recorded by: Clint Dixon
Location Recorded: Old Masonic Hall, Nedlands
Latitude/Longitude: -31.98/115.8

Cultural Protocols: PUBLIC ACCESS - VERBAL CONSENT
Access: PUBLIC
Full transcript:
Clint Dixon: Can you introduce yourself?

Louise Mengil: My name’s Louise Mengil. I’m 24, on Saturday. My skin group is Nangala [?] and I live in Kununurra.

CD: Since the last meeting, what have you learnt?

DLM: Heaps. I’ve learnt how to look at paintings in a different version, I’ve learnt how to compare works that are emerging, I can tell an emerging artist from a well known artist, so I’ve learnt heaps since the last trip.

CD: Can you explain how you did things differently? Mapping?

DLM: Ok, well that’s all new to me as well, but it’s all part of the experience that I’m learning. So, it was … laying the map of the Canning Stock Route was a layout to where the paintings fit in, and where the stories came in. So when we did that it was more to see what we had to play with, basically, so what paintings we could see were in each area and which country and how it related … yeah, so basically how it related to the Canning Stock Route and how we go about putting it into the exhibition.

CD: Out of the 100 plus paintings, how many are left?

DLM: Seventy-five paintings we’ve actually chosen, so far - without the paintings that haven’t come from the art centres yet, so there’s more to come and we’re thinking of having eighty paintings in the show, so we’re going to compare the new works with what we’ve got now and if it’s stronger than some work which means we have to take some out, so we can replace them.

CD: What's it like working with Wally?

DLM: It’s amazing. I’ve learnt so much from Wally, I mean, I practically now do the gallery presentation in our art centre. So, going from not knowing how to look at painting and then coming down here, learning within a week, learning so much and then going back and having that little bit more knowledge to be able to get to where I am now is huge. But Wally is an inspiration for me, he’s a hard worker, he’s like a guidance, he shows us, he explains to us, he sort of like … he doesn’t leave it all up to us. So he’s basically like a really good teacher at guidance.

CD: What's it like working with Terry and Hayley?

DLM: Personally I think they’re great and I like everything about them. They’re two different people, Hayley is very quiet and shy but also educated in a different way. They’re both older than me and they have a little bit more knowledge in the cultural background than what I have. Yeah, working close with them is good, so, I have no problems.

CD: And working with Terry?

DLM: Um … he’s funny. He’s a bit competitive in some ways, like, I consider him as a mentor as well but also a competitor, it’s sort of like doing a sport, like … doing this is like a sport as well for me. And me trying to tie in with what he knows is really, really hard, but it’s good because I learn a lot from him as well.

CD: How do you choose your paintings?

DLM: I tend to choose my paintings through connections. So I connect through a painting, it mightn’t even be by an artist who is famous, it could be an artist who’s just started off. For instance, Hayley Atkins, I connected to her paintings because she had this emotion that goes through it and I felt it from just looking at it and … when I first seen it I didn’t even know it was hers, and then when I asked it was like, it’s Hayley’s, and it was like, wow. You know, she’s got a natural … she’s a natural artist, so ... it’s more a connection thing for me, not what it looks like.

CD: You don’t go by a strong visual or stories behind the painting?

DLM: Yeah, stories definitely and um … it’s got all to do with my feelings. I guess I could appreciate a painting on my wall if I can connect and feel the emotions, the strength of it, if it’s … if it’s just something that I can see and it looks pretty there’s sort of no touch to it. Yeah, it’s more a feeling than a story background. So, yeah.

CD: How much do you know about the CSR now?

DLM: Well I know that it happened a hundred years ago and that all these horrible events that happened, about how people were moved up and down the Canning Stock Route. How a famous, painter, artist, Rover Thomas, how he ended up in Turkey Creek, or Warmun as people say. I’ve learnt heaps, considering I didn’t know anything.

CD: What were some of the funniest things that have happened?

DLM: I don’t really know, I think every day is a laugh for me. Maybe because … oh, there was one instance where Clint was bouncing around doing a ballerina dance and John singing along to it – I think that’s the most funniest thing.

CD: Where do you see yourself after the project finishes?

DLM: After the whole project? I see myself with a degree, I see myself with accreditation, with a … curator’s background and hopefully able to have the experience and knowledge to run the art centre in Kununurra.

CD: Can you tell us about your favourite painting?

DLM: The artist is Clifford Brooks, we don’t actually know what the story is, but it’s to do with the Canning Stock Route, it’s ochre based, which I’m … it’s a personal thing for me as well because where I come from ochre is used for practically everything – art, artefacts, ceremony, everything. So, it’s personal for me, but the strength of the painting and just to see the fusion of the ochre, or pigments, how it stood up against acrylics was amazing to see, I didn’t even know it was ochre until they told me.

CD: How do you help each other? [The young curators]

DLM: It works three ways. I help Hayley in trying to come out and be a little bit more … coz I can see there’s more to Hayley than what she does. I mean, I used to be that person at one stage, and um, we encourage Hayley to talk about stuff because she has every right to. She has history, background with the Canning Stock Route and it’s nice to be … she’s got strong emotions and feelings about what happened, about her country, about her family, so I sat down with her and just said express all your feelings, but use it towards anyone that wants to know about it basically, and she did, she was, wow, you know, I didn’t think she could speak that much but she did a whole day of talking and she interacted with about everyone who came through that door. And when I seen her do that I had to tell Terry to step back a bit and let her go, let her have that chance and that experience to sort of open up a bit more.

Whereas Terry, he sort of was an encouragement for me, he always used to encourage me, ‘look, don’t be shy, get up there and do an oral presentation’. There was a time last year, or in the last meet that we had, one of our artists had an exhibition down here and she wanted me to do a speech for the opening and I was like no, no, it’s so embarrassing, I can’t do it, I’d choke, and Terry was like ‘don’t worry about who’s there. Think about your grandmother, think about the work and think about your voice, tell them what you’re here to tell them’. So, he’s more of an encouragement to me, and it sort of goes down to Hayley. So I’m sort of in the middle and it’s really nice. We’re all inspiration for each other, like the whole team is great. I think that this whole project is an awesome experience for me, I see a lot of hard working people, I see fun people as well and people who’s just very laid back which I like, so, yeah.

CD: How did you get involved with FORM and the CSR project?

DLM: Well, it was funny. The position I’m in now was supposed to be for another arts broker within the arts centre. He couldn’t make it, due to whatever his excuse was, and Cathy approached me, our manager at the art centre approached me and asked me if I wanted to do it, because she didn’t want to pass up the opportunity, and I was like, well, I don’t even know what you’re talking about but I’ll go along anyway. And I’m actually glad that I did because I’m enjoying it, I’m learning stuff, I’m having experience. It’s great, it’s a great opportunity and I’m grateful that it happened to me.

CD: What's it like working with Clint?

DLM: Very fun, he’s very funny. There’s not a day you don’t go without laughing.

END
Source: CSROH_189_Louise_Mengil

Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Curators Workshops

Location: Black Swan Theatre, Nedlands, Perth

Date: 4/10/2008

Event Description: During seven week-long sessions, spread over 14 months, a team comprising co-curators Hayley Atkins, Doolmarria Louise Mengil, Murungkurr Terry Murray, John Carty, Monique La Fontaine and Carly Davenport, with consulting curator Wally Caruana, who worked as a mentor to the team in the project’s early stages, struggled to determine which works would be included in the final collection, and then which of those works would be included in the Yiwarra Kuju exhibition. From late 2007 to late 2008, team members immersed themselves in the works of art and in the voices of artists; gradually the immense jigsaw of the collection began to be pieced together as the curatorial team gained understanding of the stories in the works, and their relation to specific Countries and family connections across the stock route region.

People: Murungkurr Terry Murray, Doolmarria Louise Mengil, Hayley Atkins

Art Centre(s): CSR Project

Latitude/Longitude:-31.977066/115.814438
Media Description: Curators Meeting and National Museum of Australia Collection Handover, March, 2009. Murungkurr Terry Murray, Doolmarria Louise Mengil and Hayley Atkins with the Canning Stock Route Collection.

Rights: Photo by Ross Swanborough

Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Hayley Atkins

 

Hayley Atkins - curating experience [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Hayley Atkins talks at length about her experience curating the Yiwarra Kuju exhibition. She talks about things she has learned, and also about her favourite paintings.

Date: 2009-11-18
Art centre(s): CSR Project, Martumili Artists
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_212_Hayley_Atkins
Date: 2009-11-18
Location Recorded: Old Halls Creek
Latitude/Longitude: -18.251269/127.782303

Cultural Protocols: Public Access
Access: Public
Full transcript: Carly Davenport: Hayley you were actually the first emerging curator working on the whole project, and you started back in Well 36, that trip in 2007. Do you want to talk a little bit about what this trip was like for you working with Martumilli artists and all of this team? Hayley Atkins: Yeah, when I first ... CD: Ooh ... Nicole Ma: What? CD: Microphone. NM: Oh! NM: Thank you, okay. CD: So yeah, so do you wanna start talking about the Well 36 Return to Country trip? HA: Before that ... Gabreille told me about the stock route, and I was sayin’ to Gabrielle, ‘what is the stock route?’ [laughs]. She said, Well 33 is one of them, it starts from Wiluna to Halls Creek, and I was thinkin’ yep, I wanted to go check it out. They ... Gabrielle told me if I could work on the stock route project ... so I said yes! But still you know ... I was thinking in my head, I didn’t know what the stock route was ... yeah, and finally we made it to 33, and we went bit further to Well 34 then 35, then we all met there. And I get to [XX - ?] and ... me with all the other artists too. Then we all got introduced and that’s where ... when JJ Jefferey James was alive then, he introduced me to all the old people and to all the mob and told me that I was connected to them as well, and JJ was saying ‘this is your granddaughter’ to the old people [laughs], and I was excited too ‘cause I didn’t know. From there, that’s where I learnt how to paint as well, with the old people. These old people was just painting and reading out a lot of stories, a lotta things I didn’t know, like the background of the bushman days, and that’s where I didn’t know that my grandmother Milly Kelly, I didn’t know she used to live up Widjimung [?] lake. Even my dad and mum, my grandparents, they come from the bush as well. So all these stories was just coming and I was just getting excited to know ... I just wanted to really go in deep to the Canning Stock Route Project. CD: So Martumilli Artists have got one of the biggest mobs of the whole exhibition, the whole project. HA: Yeah Martumilli have like worked with six communities, and there’s a lot of artists, even young people, and most of them paint, they, where they come from, and yeah. CD: That means more hard work from you [laughs], keeping up with the mob. HA: Mmm. CD: Hayley, do you wanna talk a little bit about some, I guess good memories, or highlights about what you’ve learnt along the way? Like with working with all the Martumilli artists in that group and then travelling the whole length of the stock route that way, and working with Wally Caruana, working with Monique and John and me ... what’s some of the good memories of the last few years, that you’ve ... HA: [sighs and smiles] CD: Too much? HA: Mmm ... good memories was like travelling on the Stock Road, and even actually seeing the spots and the stories and hearing from the old people, they actually showing you where it happened and where they was walkin’ around ... Even I learn a lot with Wally, like how does stories and the painting really connect and how you have to always like make them sit together, with the colours and the stories, yeah that’s the part I like, I learnt, like ‘cause I didn’t know anything about painting and even the stories when I started working with Martumilli. Gabrielle told me ‘oh you know, when you start working with Canning Stock Route Project, and I was thinkin’, ‘no I don’t wanna work ‘cause I don’t know anything’, but I just want to work so I can just go out there and know everything like painting and stories, I was doing it so it was like a journey for me, like knowing the families and the stories so I was just so proud to be on this project and that’s where I ... I learned how to paint so, the first painting was about my Stock Route painting [laughs]. NM: What was it of, that painting? HA: It was where ... the Seven Sisters were ... um Well 36. Where there was the water, the Seven Sisters created and the men lying down next to it, that’s what I painted. And we got bogged, me and Gabrielle. Another painting was ... Braden Pool, where we had the lunch, we had a lunch there. And ... CD: We hear she got bogged. HA: Another painting, we were sleeping at Well 35, and I painted the Seven Sisters in the sky, like stars. CD: Hayley why do you think it’s so important to listen to the old people? HA: Because they, they know everything, they know the bush life. They got this knowledge, they know the Dreaming and boundaries, everything. They lived that life. Like, it’s changed now ‘cause they all living in a town, and a house. But, so it’s a bit different from living in a town and living out in the bush. Yeah. So it’s good for people, whitefella, whitefellas and young people like us to know the connection and everything, to know that we all just connected no matter what language, different language we speak, but we just one family. CD: From that ... putting that exhibition together, that big special group with everyone contributing. What do you think’s been the most special for you in learning how that show’s gonna work together and sit together? HA: The exhibition itself, like, he tells many stories big and small and by the looks of the exhibition right now it’s, you can already see it ... all the connection, like ... like how Canning, made all the wells ... straight line, it’s like he put a scratch mark or scar through that stock road. It was like for Aboriginal people living the desert life it was good, until Canning went through there, now the people and the story line, their history is where people just got scattered, went different ways and it’s all coming back now for people to see what really happened and the stories all coming back. How it was back then. Like they were living their life singing and dancing through the law, that’s what was precious to them back then and families and connections, they ... um ... waterholes, Dreaming, everything, it was all theirs, and they want to tell the whole world it’s still theirs, you know, and it’s always been theirs since, and it’s good that they ... it’s good that people painting and everything it’s all in there for the other people to know, yeah so, so they could never forget where they come from. Yeah. CD: That old man that passed away he was the real big leader wasn’t he, from Kunawarritji? HA: Yeah he was, I didn’t really wanted him to go, ‘cause it was a bit too early ‘cause he know all the families belong to my grandfather, from [XX - ?]. CD: I mean you know first hand better than anyone because Martumilli Artists have so strongly wanted this project to happen, and that’s why we’ve got so many artists. Do you wanna talk about how you’ve worked with the elders guiding you and what we’re doing in that trip we just did all across the communities? And even now I guess, but even more I guess with your Country too and you making sure they’re happy and ... HA: Um yeah, people that I worked with Martumilli the biggest mob, we have the biggest mob of all the people, mostly they paint sometimes Canning Stock Router, ‘cause they were walking around through there getting contact with the white people for the first time, and they just love to paint and tell their stories, they want people to know about the bushman days. Even the bush tuckers and how they camped, many things been happening, even funny stories [laughs]. And so when I talk to them they talk non-stop and I feel excited when I’m with the old people ‘cause you get a lot out of them and they can teach you a lot of things, even how to sing and dance. CD: And you reckon they’re really keen to let all the [XX - ?] and young ones to know all about this too? HA: Yeah, that’s why they work so hard, they paint and just want the people to know, like get it out there to them, and they can get familiar with all the names of the place. Yeah, but I get really into them, like I really wanna know where they come from and the family tree as well. CD: What’s it been like working with Terry and Louise? HA: [Smiles] It was fantastic ‘cause, Terry and Louise know more than me, how to work, like, when I started first working, I didn’t really know much, but now I just know. So um, yeah we work really good. CD: And you have a bit of fun? HA: Yeah, so we get along just fine [laughs]. CD: And what about say working with Nola and Tom in different ways, different places? HA: Yeah with Nola ... working with her like, she helped me a lot. ‘Cause I don’t speak much of Manyjilyjarra I just, I can listen right, I can understand it a little, but not those hard words, so that’s why I wanted Nola to come in. But first, when I worked with this project, ‘cause too much was coming into my head, like all this screaming, you know, I was bit uncomfortable. Like, this is a big thing you know, could ... get in trouble, so, that’s why I asked if Nola could come on board and work with us, and check with the every old people to check if they want to work and story to be told. But actually everybody likes it and yeah there was no concern, only some stuff. So, yeah that’s good I got Nola on the board. And, Tom they really good. CD: What do you reckon of this Kimberley trip so far? We’ve still got to go to Balgo and Mulan. HA: Yeah, I’m lookin’ forward to meetin’ all the people there, ‘cause like, I’m connected to Wompi and Kumpaya and I like to go there and meet people and to know like, how people connected to that way. Yeah, it’s good to know, it good to meet a lot of people I like on this trip, and it’s just good to go and show them the exhibition and talk to them where everything is, so they’re happy CD: What’s the most important thing for you that you’ve learnt along this journey? HA: Mmm ... everything really. Mmm, the Country itself and the people, yeah and the history about it and to get to know other people as well [nods[].Mmmm, get to meet them, especially to get to know the artists, yeah, get to meet all the people ‘cause they know, they know people from where I came and yeah, there’s like this connection everywhere, no matter where you go, or how far you go, yeah. CD: What do you reckon of all of us working towards that big party opening in Canberra at the National Museum next year? HA: [smiles] I can’t wait actually, it’s gonna be good fun, yeah um, I will be there, everybody will be there, like, coming together, you know, one people. No matter where we come from, you know, everybody has a story to tell. CD: That’s gonna be a lot of hard work, especially the curator and multimedia mob. HA: Yeah. CD: There gonna be physically building that show in. HA: I can’t wait for that actually, I just wanna be there and can’t stop thinkin’ about it. Yeah, lookin’ forward. NM: There’s a lot of different things to do with the show, a lot of stories and Country and languages, and a lot of people will also be coming to see the show, some people will know alot and some people won’t know anything. So what would you ... what would be the one thing that you would hope that people will take from it, or get out of the show, from seeing the show? HA: To understand the boundaries and know the sacred places and you have to be there with like, going into that Country you have to take a owner, who know that Country and talk that language and ... to understand that we just all connected through our skin colours and that Aboriginal people respect their Dreaming and ... yeah, to respect some sacred sites, and just to – this is who we are as Aboriginal person, you know, this is how they been living, and to just learn about the history and what did happen on the Stock Road it happen, so, just to learn about the past and just to ... yeah just to learn about the history itself, and yeah. NM: That first thing you said about boundaries, why do you think that it’s important to learn about that? HA: ‘Cause, boundaries is like going into somebody’s country. And you have to take a person who know that country, like you don’t just drive past it and go to any rock, hills, or water, there could be sacred sites there, and anything could happen to you. CD: So people respect the guarding mob they gotta respect the Aboriginal way knowledge, when they come into Aboriginal country? HA: Yeah, so hopefully when you driving out, and wanna check out the desert without anyone knowing, so you need to take somebody that knows that Country. NM: What would you say to someone, who says you know, ‘I’ve got a map – I’ve got a Canning Map, you know, I know where I’m going, I don’t need anyone’. HA: As long as they just stick to the road – the Stock Road. If you just drive anywhere, like anything can happen. Like these are some sacred places. NM: So do you think this exhibition will help them understand that a little bit, that there’s a lot of little things going on around there. HA: Yeah. NM: Not just that it’s one road, that they just drive up and down? CD: Hayley what do you think about the title, the new title that Martu mob have offered to all the other mobs, that could be our title? HA: Yeah. CD: Do you wanna say it, like tell the audience what that title is? HA: Yeah, that title is Yiwarra Kuju – it’s mean One Road. And it came from the Manyjilyjarra word, so but we got nine art centres and nine language, that’s big, because all the language group, yeah, we have to try and talk about that title, and which title we can have for the exhibition. So, we asked Martumili mob, so they came up with that word. So I guess, hope, they are happy with that. CD: Do you like the title? HA: Mmm ... yep – and I hope other people like it too. CD: [XX - ?] HA: Yeah. Yeah, they make sense ‘cause it’s just one road, not any other road. So – it’s one road – but many people got stories for it. CD: Hayley, what’s your favourite part of the exhibition, what section or theme do you like working with? HA: Seven Sisters. CD: Can you talk about maybe the artist names that are in there? HA: [XX - ?], [XX - ?], Nancy Chapman, [XX - ?], big Seven Sister painting from three sisters, and Nan’s painting. CD: and why do you like Seven sisters so much, coz that was your first painting as well? HA: Yeah it was, the story about Seven Sisters, that one man was chasing seven girls and wanted to make them wife, but they didn’t like him, and that Seven Sisters story go right through to South Australia and Northern Territory, so it’s a huge story for Seven Sisters. And they created a lot of water and a lot of places, so that’s how I like it. CD: Good. NM: Very Good. CD: Beautiful. NM: Thankyou. CD: Thanks Hayley. CD: It’ll be good when Gabrielle watches that one day, she’ll be so stoked. HA: Yeah, I wanna go back home, and do painting – second one – with you on the phone (laughs) – Gabrielle wanted me to do that – she liked it. NM: What painting’s that? HA: And I really liked it too. CD: She made a special one ... HA: I’s tryna keep it for you. CD: Of me on a satellite phone [laughs]. HA: With that jeans! [points] CD: With these jeans? HA: Yeah! Tryna paint that clothes too. HA: It was very nice. HA: Yeah. NM: Which of the paintings is in the show? HA: Nothing. CD: No. NM: Or we can put it in the ... HA: Book? NM: Signature piece? You know that interactive. CD: Mmmm – well a couple of Hayley’s one in particular would be the Tinka, Gabrielle in the swag, you in the swag in the starry night – that would be a wonderful one for ... HA: Gabrielle got that painting on her wall. CD: She owns that one yeah. HA: I been ask for ... I wanted them painting back – [laughs] but it was too late and I seen them hanging in headland [laughs] And I think that other one, they sold. NM: What about the one that was [XX - ?] HA: I dunno, must of Gabrielle got it. NM: She got that one too? HA: She got it too and one woman got it from Adelaide. CD: See, if that National Museum had of got on board earlier, they all would of been kept together, but at least we got the best of the best in. END
Video format: DVD/MiniDV/Quicktime movie
Video recording: 107 Kimberley Approvals, Louise, Hayley IVs, Nov 09
Source: CSROH_212_Hayley_Atkins
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Hayley Atkins; © FORM, transcript only

Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Doolmarria Louise Mengil

Doolmarria Louise Mengil - curatorial issues, family and community [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Doolmarria Louise Mengil talks about her experiences curating for the Canning Stock Route Project. She speaks about the importance of old people, and speaks at length about the social and political importance of the Canning Stock Route people for both Aboriginal communities and non-Indigenous Australia.

Date: 2009-11
Art centre(s): CSR Project
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_213_Doolmarria_Louise_Mengil
Date: 2009-11
Location Recorded: Old Halls Creek
Latitude/Longitude: -18.251269/127.782303

Cultural Protocols: Public Access
Access: Public
Full transcript: Carly Davenport: So do you want to talk a little bit, starting about this Kimberley trip, this next nine days, where we’ve come from and where we are now?

Doolmarria Louise Mengil: Okay, the first day I guess we flew in, meeting Bidyadanga trip, that was really nice. They actually drove in. I wasn’t expecting, like, old, old people I must say, their names sound like they’re very young, and through there paintings you’re like - okay I’m meeting like, maybe middle aged or people in their 40s/50s. It surprised me, Donald Moko, Jan Billycan – I thought she was actually like a 30 year old or 40 year old, but when I seen her I was like ‘Oh My God, we’re really dealing with old people’, so ... and that was great, that was great so …

That day I was like, ‘wow they’ve driven from Bidyadanga to Broome just to meet with us, that was something I can’t even explain in words basically, it made me feel so ... I appreciated every moment of that day, it was so hot, but so what, these guys travelled so far just to do this day, yeah I didn’t even recognise the heat basically.

CD: Can you describe what the point of our meetings are now like the approvals and the commissions?

LM: Yep, basically at this stage we’re showing the artists where there paintings are and how they’re connected and why we’ve put them in that section and making sure we have it corrected, and if the artists are happy, so getting their approval of where it sits and if the story’s correct and if they can sit next to a certain person and if we have the relationship with another artist corrected. I think the Bidyadanga was very happy, Jan kept talking about her story it was hilarious, Donald was very, very happy and his wife as well. The interpreters were great, I must say, the Fitzroy trip as well … being in Fitzroy was, I must say one of my favourites at this stage, I just felt SO welcome, so relaxed, so laid-back, and the artists were lovely. I admired Spider and Dolly, they are the most cutest couple I reckon. Yeah they are very, very happy I must say, we haven’t talked about the title with the Fitzroy mob but we eventually will. They were happy with how we’ve got it laid out, each trip we’ve done, each artist, each group had been just surprised on how big the project was, and that their story is going to be out there and I think they’re just like, ‘okay, it’s gonna happen’, so there’s no more doubts in their minds, they know it’s going to happen for real now, I think when they sign off those papers they sign off with such loving happiness in their hearts that were filled with telling their stories.

CD: That’s because their families are going to have access to these materials.

LM: Yeah, as well as hearing other people’s stories and recognising. Pulling into Derby to see Stumpy and it took probably the first 10 minutes, just like you know quiet, but then showing her paintings, showing her Rover and Billy’s paintings and then she was very excited when she seen Nyumi’s paintings, and listening to the song and the stories – it brought her back, she identified where she was from –she found her inner self—in that little time, in that little moment she centred. The nurses there as well could not believe what had happened in that little time.

CD: Do you want to talk a bit about the practical tangibles of some of the things that you’ve learnt along the way. We’ve had something like 12 curators meetings over three calendar years. Woo hoo! I mean, not to remember it all because that’s too much and we’ve been recording different things. But any highlights of working with Caruana and the defining of the collection—that was the first big job that the three of you had with Wally. And then that’s sort of one part, and then the second part is that the putting of the exhibition together with a big collaborative team and the National Museum.

LM: Well with Wally, we were well looked after I must say. Whenever we needed help he was there, he took us under his wing, he walked us through step by step, always guided us, tested us at some stage. It’s almost like he never let us down, we’ve learnt so much from him and I appreciate that, I’ve learnt more than I could of ever at Waringarri itself or at any art centre itself. It’s such an opportunity to be able to work one on one with a curator, with a curator who had curated so many exhibitions.

CD: What was some of the things you learnt, like when you were talking about what makes a strong painting with colour?

LM: Well I think it’s more to do with looking beyond the painting, he taught us to be able to see beyond the painting itself, listen to the artist and its story and then recognise the place and then put it into the painting, sort of thing. So not just seeing the painting but going beyond the painting itself. So, that’s kind of a really hard technique to teach someone – but we all, we all – the three of us were able to adapt really quick, and at some stages Wally would quote, you know, ‘Who’s mentoring who?’ [laughs] But yeah, I think because we’re having so much fun we learnt really quick and became a really, really tight team. I think one my favourite moments working with Wally was actually ... in Perth, we were in Northbridge, on the other side of Northbridge, yeah up in there, and we were going through ... and he was teaching us to gather paintings and hang ‘em up and you know what would go with what, and then he’d come behind and say, ‘okay that looks good, but in reality … it wouldn’t go together’. So it was, it was good. I liked it when he actually tested us – it showed that, you know, we were listening or, you know, if we needed more help in a different area, he would do that, and he’d work with us sometimes one-on-one. It was great.

CD: That was a hard job because you had something like, you know 100 and …

LM: Ninety …

CD: Yeah ... paintings, and then out of that you chose 113 different things.

LM: Yeah, it was very hard, I must say even to this point now it’s been … the most difficult thing yet [laughs]. They’re all beautiful stories, all beautiful paintings, but for this show to be able to attract so many viewers and make its point across Australia and national wide we need to be able to pick the strongest paintings and the appropriate paintings as well and artists in order for us to tell the story and get the message across the world ... I think [laughs].

CD: That’s good.

LM: So yeah, that kind of made it a bit easier.

CD: What do you think about young professionals, say you’ve got all the multimedia team on the project, and the curator team, and working with Tom and Nola, it’s sort of been a real posse of people from the different communities with all these different skills.

LM: It’s like my second family a little bit [laughs].

Nicole Ma: Can you just sit back a bit please Louise.

LM: Yo.

NM: That’s cool.

CD: I guess professional space, I’m trying to look to see leadership, and talent.

LM: Okay, Terry and Haley definitely they’ve been ... professionally, I admire them for their artwork, they’re artists themselves, and to be able to take another role as a curator. As well as being young leaders for their mob. Tom Lawford, working with Terry, him being sort of one up from Terry, and guiding Terry as well and also guiding us. Nola for guiding Haley, as well as guiding us as well, for being a young emerging elder. You know, it’s at that stage where we all need to find our place in our community and step up to the plate, and I think Tom and Nola have well and truly emerged to that. As well as professionally in this project, they’ve been great and they’ve taken on their roles and I think out of 100 I’d give them 99.9. You know, they’ve done every single thing by the books as well, in our terms, as well as their terms – the bush terms you know, their community terms. So yeah, with this project it’s just – with the guys from the multimedia group, I can see Morika going a very long way, she has the most wicked eyes – I think she can see beyond the people itself – sees right through you, she captures the most perfect moments I reckon, the most beautiful photos – yeah I love the one of Jakayu that she’s taken, it was just a moment where you can see strength, happiness and … you know ready to strive. With Clint Dixon and KJ they capture kind of movement, unique moments, very special moments. I think with them – they can read your body language so they know that the next time something good’s gonna happen, there already lined waiting. I think KJ’s a bit of a storyteller too and he’s gonna one day be an elder [smiles].

CD: Gorgeous. Do you want to talk a little bit about your favourite part in the exhibition itself?

LM: Okay …

CD: … or anything from the show and the design that has a strong message.

LM: Okay, I don’t actually have a particularly favourite part. My favourite part is the whole thing and how it fell together and how it melted like butter and bread basically. But I must say the Rover Thomas story as well as the [XX - ?] story - they’re one of the stories which really could capture a lot of people. So, with the Rover Thomas story it will show people that this artist is not originally from the Kimberleys, but he was taking from [XX - ?] and, you know, travelled up to the Kimberleys where he had lived, and um, where his brother had walked up to Well 41 and saw a massacre, and turned around, and in his heart believed that his brother was still alive. I think that’s magical and spiritual in every kind of way. And with the [XX - ?] part it’s a very sacred part, it’s an area where the people itself look after and is also protective of, it’s a place where you can only talk so much about it. And it shows people that it’s a boundary that even the TO’s or the traditional owners for that Country will not break or will not trespass itself, so the amount of … it’s … really hard to explain really, but I think this is one of the things we have worked towards and we’re still working towards, is how about we would go in telling our viewers about [XX - ?] itself, where you can only say a certain part of it and not say another part of it.

CD: About the Aboriginal clause …

LM: Yeah, yeah.

CD: That’s good … Nicky can you think of anything?

NM: I guess I’d just like to ask that again, from the whole exhibition, you know you worked so hard on it and everything - and a lot of different types of people are coming to see it - what would be the one thing you would hope that they would take away from it?

LM: One thing I hope that the viewers take away from it is that, to acknowledge that these people have come from so far, have lived a long life, have lived past the history itself and have adapted to the life that we live today. And also to see that we don’t interpret with English, there’s so many ways that we can interpret and these artists are interpreting through their paintings as Clifford Brooks has quoted. It’s hard to be able to tell their story because it’s not that easy, no one’s gonna understand their languages. They are telling their stories through their paintings so I think that’s one thing that we all need to acknowledge. To be able to say that we are different and we’re never going to be the same but this is our story about the Canning Stock Route and this is how we’re telling it, so ... I mean even if people just take away that little bit, it’s a huge step, ‘cause they’ve gone into that exhibition and they’ve taken something out – even if it’s the most tiniest thing – but it’s most important to see that, it’s not one way of interpreting or telling a story it’s so many different ways and this exhibition explains so many levels and so many hard years of working with artists and everybody itself. So yeah [smiles].

NM:Yeah, that’s really good.

LM: Cool [smiles].

CD: Anything else you wanna say?

LM: [shakes head and laughs] Nope.

CD: When’s lunch! [laughs]

LM: I’m not really actually hungry, I don’t eat in the heat.

CD: Yeah.

LM: Yeah, I drink more water though.

NM: Can you just talk a little bit about the fact that this is going to be a capsule of history, you know, that’s going to be conserved by the museum and if you think that’s important and why?

LM: Well it’s important in both worlds, in the Aboriginal world and the [kartiya] world. I mean, it’s the advantage for Aboriginal people to tell their story. And it’s also the advantage of Aboriginal people in teaching their younger people in a different way … their traditional way, as well as the modern way in which they have adapted to and it’s also telling [kartiya] people that it’s a story that should have been told a very long time ago. And it had destroyed, and had not destroyed so many families, I mean it had its advantage and its disadvantage. It’s also telling everybody that these old people are willing to do whatever it takes to show them that they’re still here and telling their story, that 100 years ago this had happened and we remember, and it has knowledge been passed from one person to another, you know their great great grandparents have told them their story, you know, some of these old people are 80, so some of these old people have experienced this trip, some young people haven’t, so we have young people like Clifford Brooks, who haven’t actually experienced it, but have heard it, and took it into account and put it onto a canvas, and … public programs, I mean, I myself had finished Year 12 and not had not heard any part of this Canning Stock Route and I think it should be told ... [smiles] … yeah.

NM: Great.

CD: That’s good.

LM: Cool.

NM: Perfect.

CD: This will help us to keep track of people’s thoughts and then weave this together into one special story next year.

END
Video format: DVD/MiniDV/Quicktime movie
Video recording: 106 Kimberley Approvals, Tom, Louise IV's, Nov 09; 107 Kimberley Approvals, Louise, Hayley IVs, Nov 09
Source: CSROH_213_Doolmarria_Louise_Mengil
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Doolmarria Louise Mengil; © FORM, transcript only

Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Murungkurr Terry Murray

Murungkurr Terry Murray - family and Country [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Murungkurr Terry Murray talks about discovering family connections through the Canning Stock Route Project, and the way he has family linked from waterhole to waterhole.

Date: 2009-10-27
Art centre(s): CSR Project, Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency, Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_211_Murungkurr_Terry_Murray
Date: 2009-10-27
Location Recorded: Parnngurr
Latitude/Longitude: -20.492731/118.537344

Cultural Protocols: Public Access
Access: Public
Full transcript: Murungkurr Terry Murray: Ok cut … I mean go with it! [laughs] … sorry about that!

TM: Today we’re in Parnngurr, all day we are just having big meetings. Finalising the ... going through the book, the Canning Stock Route Book and talking to artists about what’s going in the book, the Canning Stock Route book, then signing off on the story lines, what paintings are hanging in the collection in Canberra at the National Museum – Canning Stock Route Project. Today was a big day for us. Trying to finalise everything and that everyone is happy, from the TO’s [traditional owners], the artists.

Nicole Ma: Were they happy?

TM: Yeah they were happy, and giving us more story on their painting and also on their biography and artist history, where they been born and what area they paint on the Canning Stock Route.

NM: What was the most interesting story for you today?

TM: Oh just, family connections, from my aunty. How, coming through the desert and how they are related to my mob, all still family connection from jila to jila.

NM: Have you heard that story before or was it new to you?

TM: I heard this story before, but coming from my aunty here in Parnngurr (about) the connection, I been told the story up in Mangkaja there. And coming here on this Canning Stock Route project, and yeah hearing the same story and how everybody is related.

NM: Was that special for you?

TM: It’s special. I had a laugh and good feeling in inside.

NM: Did she tell you about your [XX - ?]

TM: [She was] telling me about my grandfather and how he went walking through the desert picking new wives – walking from Japingka through to Wirnpa – getting wives and going back up – and how everybody is related today. Yeah it was a bit funny hearing it …

NM: Ah, so he walked along the stock route getting new wives all along the way?

TM: Nah, not the stock route, you know Lake Percival and Wirnpa, and how they are overlapping with the [XX - ?] people. How some lines of waterhole, jila, Great Sandy Desert. How Martu and Ngurra people all connected.

NM: Yeah, that’s interesting

TM: Yeah, it’s interesting. You know all this week we been talking about history. Before Canning made those lines of well it was all family groups, tribes and language groups that were related – how that connection in the Western Desert. Family tribes meeting other family in different jila and different waterholes in the desert.

So it’s a big movement now. How Canning made those lines on Martu Country you know, now days we are living, everybody moved – separated to different part of the Western Desert to different towns: Fitzroy Crossing, Newman, Jigalong, Balgo, Broome, Bidyadanga. And that connection is still alive today in the heart of the desert. We all still got that family connection and language connection. We all one mob. All one [Martu] people. And yeah ... Canning Stock Route is another history. It’s the European version, but now what we’re talking about is how this land, the Western Desert, is connected with Martu, with Aboriginal [people]. How daily lives were all connected back through song and dance and Dreaming and the desert.

END
Video format: DVD/MiniDV/Quicktime movie
Video recording: 103 Kimberley Approvals, Nov 09
Source: CSROH_211_Murungkurr_Terry_Murray
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Murungkurr Terry Murray; © FORM, transcript only

Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Murungkurr Terry Murray

Murungkurr Terry Murray - favourite painting [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Murungkurr Terry Murray talks about a painting by his aunt, Taku Rosie Tarco. He tells about the history that the painting references.

Date: 2008-10-30
Art centre(s): Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency, Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_196_Murungkurr_Terry_Murray
Date: 2008-10-30
Location Recorded: National Museum of Australia, Canberra
Latitude/Longitude: -35.291492/149.117931

Cultural Protocols: Public Access
Access: Public
Full transcript: [Terry talks about Rosie Tarco's painting. Holds it up]

Um, this is my aunty, Rosie Tarco. She’s language is Juwaliny, Walmajarri, from the Great Sandy Desert. And she talk about the first time she encountered with Europeans on the Canning Stock Route.

[Phone interrupts]

This is my aunty, Rosie Taco. She’s language group is Jiwarliny, Walmajarri, Great Sandy Desert. And the first time … this story tells about the first time she encountered Europeans, white man, going up the Canning Stock Route, and in those days in the Great Sandy Desert our people were … finding out the first time they were seeing a white man and all these cattle and camel and all these strange animal coming through the desert. And one story that she was telling us, was this promise that she told me that … she told me, my nephew, when I’m out there I’m separate from our family, from your old man and your mother mob, I’m separate, I promised I wouldn’t take me but I was a young little girl, in the early days, and even saying that we didn’t go up North, over East, when we go East, we meet up with all these strange animal and this strange bloke, this white man, and I think during that time the Canning Stock Route, you know, making all that well and first encounter with Europeans and a shock, they were making their way up to Billiluna, and they seen other Aboriginal tribes and people and giving them clothes and different things, food … and she was fascinated, you know, she thought they were all spirit, you know, all these Europeans, coming out of the desert which she didn’t know. Looking at all these strange animals, camel, horse, cattle … and the first time she wore clothes, she was saying, ‘oh yeah, they were putting clothes on us, and even the old man now they go up Mulabula, in mission time, until today now and him tell me that’.

And one part of that story, when I’m in Adelaide at that museum, looking at all this map, me and my brothers, and one of our family members had this map and this old bloke … I forget, my granny again from the Jugunba side, we find this map and we were going through this archive and he encountered again, that first time European. And I think one of the drovers at the time was saying ‘where you from?’ and he was drawing all these circles, lines and looking through this map and Jungunba [?] you know. And we had to go back there, me and my brothers, and find that map, and now we’re in this exhibition now. And he say the first time he be there, mission time, he was saying my family still out there in the desert. And he was doing all this figure and waterhole and jila Country, and you know, till today. And after that most of my family come out and come out from the desert, there’s good stories from family members around everywhere, throughout all that desert area. Yeah.

END
Video format: DVD/MiniDV/Quicktime movie
Video recording: Tape 46
Source: CSROH_196_Murungkurr_Terry_Murray
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Murungkurr Terry Murray; © FORM, transcript only

Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Louise Mengil

Doolmarria Louise Mengil - favourite painting, Canning Stock Route history [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Louise talks about her favourite painting by Eubena Nampitjin and the things she'd like people to come away from the exhibition with: the living Aboriginal history and power of peoples experiences.

Date: 2008-10-30
Art centre(s): CSR Project
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_190_Doolmarria_Louise_Mengil
Date: 2008-10-30
Location Recorded: National Museum of Australia, Canberra
Latitude/Longitude: -35.291492/149.117931

Cultural Protocols: Public Access
Access: Public
Full transcript: [Louise talks about her favourite artist. Reads story]

It’s going to be harder for me I guess. Basically, I don’t have the connection, like personal connection, like the other two curators so … but my personal favourite, one of my personal favourite is Eubena. So basically I’m just going to read what she’s given us as a story of her painting. This particular painting represents the country from Well 33 to Well 35 on the Canning Stock Route. The lines in the painting represent sand hills and the circular shape near the centre of the canvas represents a large rock that belongs to the … is it the dingo as in the Dreaming? And you pronounce it Kinyu? So yeah.

[Monique La Fontaine asks Louise if she wants to talk about the protector?]

Not necessarily. Not really, no I’m not that confident enough to speak what they’ve spoken. I didn’t catch everything they said, so all I remember them saying was that Kinyu is a protector of the land and it was like a mother. I think that’s right. That’s it.

[Louise says why it's her favourite painting]

I don’t know, um, it just seems like I have a strong connection to it. There’s something about her that strikes me. I mean, I chose Clifford Brooks as one of my favourite paintings, but there’s something about her that empowers me, she inspires me and the way she tells her story just … it makes me feel more inspired and when I look at her painting. I don’t see her as an old lady, I see her as a young, beautiful woman that travelled through the Stock Route and … yeah, when you read her story out it doesn’t seem like it’s coming from an old woman, it seems like it’s coming from a young woman. I guess, she, yeah, she just … there’s something about her that just grabs me, as soon as I’ve seen the paintings it just grabs me. And I think ‘cause it’s closer to where I am as well, and that some of my old people have connections to ladies in Balgo and Ringasoke [?], so, yeah.

[Louise says what she'd like the audience to come away with]

Well, first of all, the history of the desert, where these people have actually come from, before the Canning Stock Route and after the Canning Stock Route. What they’ve been through and … yeah, basically how they lived before the time of the Canning Stock Route, after they’d lived the Canning Stock Route, during it and as well as now. And, yeah, and to see how strong they stood. They amaze me, they’ve gone through so many events that half of the people now have never experienced and, yeah they show you emotions that literally I know I feel and made me a stronger person to. So basically the understanding of it.

[Louise talking about what the audience takes away emotionally]

Well everybody is different basically, so for me it showed me a stronger side, a sad side, a very happy side and um … and an adventure. So I guess it depends on who the reader is and how interested people are. Anything else?

END
Video format: DVD/MiniDV/Quicktime movie
Video recording: Tape 46
Source: CSROH_190_Doolmarria_Louise_Mengil
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Louise Mengil; © FORM, transcript only

Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Hayley Atkins

Hayley Atkins - favourite painting, history of the Canning Stock Route [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Hayley Atkins talks about Patrick Tjungurrayi's paintings and his story for travelling through that country.

Date: 2008-10-30
Art centre(s): Martumili Artists
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_186_Hayley_Atkins
Date: 2008-10-30
Location Recorded: National Museum of Australia, Canberra
Latitude/Longitude: -35.291492/149.117931

Cultural Protocols: Public Access
Access: Public
Full transcript: [Hayley talks about Patrick's painting. Holds it up]

Hayley Atkins: This painting belong to Patrick Olodoodi and … where he from? This Patrick Olodoodi’s painting and he painted all the wells from Well 33 to Well 51, his story about his journey on the Canning Stock Route and the story is of when he was travelling and all the camps … all the people, where they was all camping and he walked past through there, visiting all the families. And, how he seen the place with … the place was alive and the people were alive, before white people made a well, the Canning Stock Route. And how he was telling the story the people was happy and alive and just doing their own thing, like travelling, visiting families, everywhere and they was all connected through the area through Canning Stock Route. And meeting up with different language group and meeting up for ceremony and when the Canning Stock Route, they made through there, how it all separated all the people and a lot of killing and massacre was happening and … the cave he was talking about where he was, but actually he wasn’t there, he went on his journey to Well 50 and around somewhere Well 40 there was a lot of killing, like a lot of people been dying, and he went there and seen a lot of people was dead and seen no life was there, looking at all the people and … so he travelled back ‘cause all the people was dead and he said a story on the trip, we’ve got a video camera of him, how he said it. So that’s his story, how he seen the Canning Stock Route. So he travelled right back to Unduwa [?], just walking a long way.

END
Video format: DVD/MiniDV/Quicktime movie
Video recording: Tape 46
Source: CSROH_186_Hayley_Atkins
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Hayley Atkins; © FORM, transcript only

Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Murungkurr Terry Murray, Hayley Atkins, Doolmarria Louise Mengil

 

Murungkurr Terry Murray, Hayley Atkins, Doolmarria Louise Mengil - curating the Beijing send-off [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Murungkurr Terry Murray, Hayley Atkins, and Doolmarria Louise Mengil discuss the process of selecting works and curating the show for the Beijing send-off at the Perth Town Hall in 2008.

Date: 2008-06-13
Art centre(s): CSR Project, Martumili Artists
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_197_Murunkurr_Terry_Murray_Hayley_Atkins_Doolmarria_Louise_Mengil
Date: 2008-06-13
Location Recorded: William Street, Northbridge
Latitude/Longitude: -31.95/115.85

Cultural Protocols: Public Access
Access: Public
Full transcript: [Can you describe the process of how you selected the paintings?] Doolmarria Louise Mengil: First of all we went, all three if us, as well as Wally assisting us, go through a whole lot of paintings and picked out most of our star paintings, which are the strongest paintings within the show, and we managed to pick out twenty odd works I think it was. Then we decide how it was going to look on the wall as well as the story, how it would interact and how we were going to put it up. Have you got anything to add to that Terry or Hayley? [What happened during the day?] LM: As the mini-launch exhibition for Beijing? We got to see the paintings for the first time stretched and our job for that day was to actually set up the exhibition and to give sort of an insight to the Australians and what it’s going to look like over in Beijing. It was a very long day. [How did you work out how to hang the paintings?] Murungkurr Terry Murray: Yeah, Hayley and Louise and I were trying to figure out how to make it really strong and eye catching to the public, and how it’s going to be hanging in Beijing. So it was, yeah, all day yesterday trying to put the balance of work, you know, from the nine different art centre about twenty artists and three big collaborative works, so it was … yeah, the help of Wally assisting. And just trying to make it really strong, how it’s going to be hanging in Beijing. [Can you explain the snake?] TM: Oh like, what Wally was saying about you can’t have the small work and a medium sized work and a large work because you call it the wedge, wedgie … from our mentor and overall curator was giving us a bit of insight on trying to make every work balanced and trying to make the show large work, medium work … balance of work, how to. LM: Give the audience basically a rhythm to what the works … how they sit on the wall. The colour difference as well, I mean you’ve got some paintings which have really dark, dull colours but are also strong, and then you’ve got these beautiful bright pink and purple and stunning bright colours that really bounce at you, so you’re trying to … it was really, really hard, I mean we’re trying to put all these paintings to sit with each other and most of them were very colourful, but then we had to balance it out and also have a special rhythm to the wall so we didn’t have audience getting bored, and making sure that we didn’t have two paintings with the same story on the wall, so it was a long process. Hayley Atkins: And how the painting all sits together. [Was it a bit stressful? Was there tension between you?] TM: Well, every time I wanted to hang a work, the girls started to complain and they had to bring it down and we had to try and … and I was asking them first and saying, ‘oh well it’s up to you’, but I was just pulling works and trying to … you know when you look through the gallery space, the entrance, you had to have the balance of work and the outside wall had to have that even line of … strength of how the colours, you know Louise was saying, the colours and the storyline. But, yeah, it turned out alright and we had to show the peace [piece?]. LM: Oh Hayley and I were okay, we were pretty much laid back. But then, like, as the day got later and we didn’t have all the works in place, it was really, really hard, it was very stressful then, wasn’t it? And then ‘cause we had short time as well to go and get ready and come back, so it was more of really tension, concentrating a bit more and … I call it the backbreaking, it was really hard, but we managed, we got together and we managed to get through it and … it turned out to be a stunning little exhibition. [How did you feel when you first walk in?] LM: Relieved and overwhelmed. I don’t know how you guys felt bu t… I thought it was amazing and just to see what it looks like there, I mean it’s not even a quarter of what we’re going to really hang, so to see those paintings hang beautifully in a space where it wasn’t much of a space is going to be amazing in the National Museum of Canberra in 2010, with all the other art works. How do you guys feel? HA: I feel really happy ‘cause how we worked really hard and played with all the paintings and putting it all together, and trying our best to make it work out and stand out. It worked. TM: I was, yeah, really fulfilled that throughout this project we are working as curators as Louise and Hayley and I had to hang the works, and when the gallery space was full, you know like most of these organisations and a lot of other … BHP sponsor and a lot of Government sponsor and people who are coming to the exhibition, had said who hang the show, who was involved in it? Yeah, they were really surprised to see us coming from different organisations, different art backgrounds, and how the young curator team and they were really excited that we were involved … with the FORM team. And yeah, I was really pleased about all those work we were hanging, and really gave their own strength. But it, you know, it’s just a quarter of the works that are going to Beijing, but the next two years we are still working on the bigger picture of this Canning Stock Route. [Were you surprised at how they looked stretched?] LM: Not so surprised, more excited. I mean, we always knew that they were going to be a beautiful piece in the end, but just excited to see exactly what they were going to look like when they were stretched, and they looked stunning. And, I must say, the vibe that we had within the exhibition was awesome. I mean it was very hard in hanging the paintings and, not only we had assistance with Wally but we also had assistance with the paintings, the art works. I mean, if it wasn’t the art works that were so strong it would have been too hard to be able to hang something and being able to have some art work a bit stronger than the others sort of played it all out as well. [How did you feel talking to people? Listening to speeches?] TM: Well for me I was, yeah, I was relaxed and just … had a good time and, like … like the young curating team, what we were saying, and Wally speaking on behalf of FORM and the Canning Stock Route Project was really … really excited that, yeah, I’m part of the team. LM: I was happy and moved. By the speeches as well as just … just about everything, the vibes, the hang, but most of all the speeches put the icing on the cake basically. TM: And yeah, Hayley had to steal the show because … yeah, just standing in front of everyone and I was really … really praising her on because I was just … you know, Hayley and I and Louise we’re on the ground with all this nine art centre and coming from … coming from a different organisation and expressing what we do, like, on the ground and professionally in hanging all this work, it’s come a long way and we have to show that we are part of history and part of what we do in our profession. [Hayley, how did you come up with the speech? (They talk about it)] HA: As I was on this Canning Stock Route trip and I learn a lot of things from old people that was talking to me and telling me all these Dreamtime stories and … ‘cause I didn’t know, I don’t know what they was painting and I didn’t know anything really ... I was learning from them. And, learning how they survived in the desert and dancing and keeping their culture strong and I wanted to tell the audience about that, our background, Aboriginal people and how we related to that land. They painting stories about their great, great grandfather’s Country, their dreaming and keeping it strong and important to the younger generation, like us. I was happy to get up and talk for the whole nine art centres because we all in one talking about the canning stock route. [Talking about Hayley’s ‘one voice’ line] LM: Yeah, we all come together and have one big voice, carry one big voice. That was mind blowing, yeah, that was amazing. But you could tell it wasn’t a speech written up, you could tell it was deeper than that, it was something … you could tell her connection within the art centres, within the people and … it’s great that she was able to do it because there was no one else I’d rather actually … I would rather Hayley or Terry had the speech, I wouldn’t have wanted to do the speech ‘cause I’m actually learning from these two as well to how their traditional old people lived on their Country, it’s completely different to my background and it is great that she got up and spoke. It shows where she’s coming from. [Terry talking about the team and Beijing] LM: Watch out Beijing. TM: I like to say something. How the curating team and the camera crew team, I think it’s started to get stronger throughout from last year to 2010, to where the bigger picture’s gonna be even more stronger in our minds and our hearts are going to grow with this project and it’s going to be mind-blowing. And the Beijing Olympics is just a … LM: Tip of an iceberg TM: A little piece of the puzzle that’s going to bring wider audience to the bigger picture, but it is gonna be, history’s gonna speak for itself and the team is gonna get more stronger. And everybody else is gonna shout! LM: Actually there is one more thing terry, we didn’t acknowledge Tom [Putuparri Tom Lawford], he also assisted us. I mean, not all of us knew stories about each paintings and he assisted us with putting labels up to the right paintings, so that was the most important part as well. So thank you Tom. HA: And thanks everybody. END
Video format: DVD/MiniDV/Quicktime movie
Video recording: Tape 37
Source: CSROH_197_Murunkurr_Terry_Murray_Hayley_Atkins_Doolmarria_Louise_Mengil
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Murungkurr Terry Murray, Hayley Atkins, Doolmarria Louise Mengil; © FORM, transcript only

Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Murungkurr Terry Murray

Murungkurr Terry Murray - curating for Canning Stock Route Project [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Murungkurr Terry Murray talks about being an emerging curator for the Canning Stock Route Project.

Date: 2008-10-06
Art centre(s): Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency, Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_195_Murungkurr_Terry_Murray
Date: 2008-10-06

Cultural Protocols: Public Access
Access: Public
Full transcript: [What's your name? Skin group? Where are you from?]

Murungkurr Terry Murray: I’m Terry Murray, I’m from Fitzroy and my skin name is Jangala and I’m a Walmajarri. And my tribe is from the Great Sandy Desert. And … yeah.

[Talking about the CSR project]

TM: Yeah, I’ve been working on this project for FORM at the start of last year, September last year and we doing this young emerging curator course with FORM and trying to, trying to … I’m the young curator that I’m choosing all these different works of art that are from this seven different desert, from the Western Desert. Like from Wiluna right up to Billiluna, and it goes through …

[Did you go into the desert?]

TM: I didn’t go down the Canning Stock Route but I’ve been in the Great Sandy Desert, where my family from. But I was really interested in going on this trip but, yeah, too much work on to do back home.

[Talking about Tom Lawford and the CSR project?]

TM: And, yeah, I’ve been working closely with Tom Lawford. He’s one of our next T.O.’s – traditional owners, leaders. And yeah, we working together and … yeah he’s one of the top blokes. Oh in, professional development and what he do in his own time. He’s one of them traditional owners in the Fitzroy Crossing area. Yeah, but we’re working on this project through FORM, it’s the Canning Stock Route Project, it’s showing the history to the wider australia and all these other European countries throughout the world, where our people from the five different deserts … the five different deserts… the four different deserts in the Western Australia deserts.

[What about a little bit about yourself?]

TM: Well I work at a school in Fitzroy Crossing, district high school. I’m the youth support working, I go and try to bring kids to school and try to get a better education, and yeah, I like doing … yeah I’ve got a family of my own and I like to go hunting and fishing and, yeah. And I’m an artist as well, I do my own art. I’ve got three boys, yeah, seven, five and two. My partner’s from down Kalgoorlie way. She’s Wongai. And yeah, we live in Bayulu, Bayulu Community and … yeah it is really … I’m really happy that I’m in this group of people that I’m working with, the curating and FORM team, it’s helped me build my confidence throughout and, you know, looking at different art centres and different history and the four different language groups and yeah.

[Will you be carrying on with this work after the project?]

TM: Well yeah. I think I’ll be carrying on after doing this project and this curating team, I would like to go further to be really professional in what I do, in curating art and how, you know, and be working in somewhere you know, like really in that professional development.

[How do you feel you're going? (Professionally)]

TM: Well I feel like that I’ve been, yeah … I’m feeling that every time we meet I’m getting more and more skilled and information and getting more, you know, stronger in how I’m looking at Aboriginal art and how you learn about the history itself.

[How do you feel about the Beijing Olympics?]

TM: With the Beijing Olympics I think it’s the next stepping stone for the Canning Stock Route history that, you know, taking it to the Olympics, showing how that we are Indigenous people from that area and that Canning Stock Route … how to bring those cattle down and how he got all these tribal people to find water and how to make history in this Western Desert.

[How about the Australian Indigenous side of it?]

TM: Well, I’m really, yeah … with every art, like with desert art, people from Arnhem Land are really fascinating and all Australian Indigenous art, how you look at a painting and how you tell the story, and I feel that I have a gift to tell the story to the European and the non-Indigenous people that we are from these areas that we’re painting, and how we go about doing our art and how we promote ourselves in that way.

END
Video format: DVD/MiniDV/Quicktime movie
Video recording: Tape 25
Source: CSROH_195_Murungkurr_Terry_Murray
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Murungkurr Terry Murray; © FORM, transcript only

Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

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