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Yiwarra Kuju in Perth

Location: Perth, WA

Date: 2011

Event Description: The record-breaking exhibition of art and new media, Yiwarra Kuju: The Canning Stock Route returned to Western Australia as the cultural backdrop to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in October 2011. Produced by FORM and the National Museum of Australia, Yiwarra Kuju was then open to the public throughout November at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre supported by a rich calendar of public program events including tours, talks and film screenings. Aboriginal curators and filmmakers, mentored on the Canning Stock Route Project over five years, gathered for its public showing to offer visitors a unique insight into the stories of the exhibition.
During its showing of only a few weeks the exhibition attracted 32,977 visitors, over 45 school tours as well as substantial attention from the media

People: Claude Carter, Steven James

Art Centre(s): Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre

Media Description: Majarrka dancers painted up. One Road festival day, Yiwarra Kuju: the Canning Stock Route, Perth 2011.

Rights: Photo by Tim Acker

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.

Tika Tika

Artist(s): Yurnangurnu Nola Campbell

Date created: 2008
Art Centre(s): Kayili Artists
Size: 151.8x101.2
Medium: acrylic on linen

Artwork Story: My family and I were walking around in that [central stock route] Country. As a little girl I carried the water. I was following my uncles and my father, Walapayi [Charlie Wallabi Tjungurrayi], who raised me. I used to chase him around when I was little, to get meat. He’s my young father. My mother is Josephine [Nangala], my own mother’s younger sister. The Tika Tika rock holes were made by Ngirntaka, the perentie goanna. Ngirntaka stopped here for one night during the Jukurrpa before continuing west on his journey towards Warburton. Many people lived at Tika Tika before Patjarr community was established, including Nola, who camped here as a young girl with her father, and her uncles and aunties.

Artwork copyright: ©2013 Yurnangurnu Nola Campbell
Catalogue ID: NC/188/KA
Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on use

Photographer: Jason McCarthy
Photograph date: 2009-05-25
Photography copyright: National Museum of Australia
Format: Image
Category: Artwork

Artist(s) biography: born 1948 Manyjilyjarra language group Napaljarri skin group Patjarr community and Wiluna Kayili Artists Nola Campbell grew up travelling in the Country between Kiwirrkurra and Kunawarritji. She is related to Charlie Wallabi (Walapayi) Tjungurrayi and Nangkatji Josephine Nangala, whom she called father and mother, and Kumpaya Girgaba, her aunt. Nola was taken to Warburton as a young woman and there she married her first husband. She moved to Wiluna and later Patjarr, where she later married artist Coiley Campbell.

Accession ID: 20131014_FORM_MIRA_B0045_0058

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.

Canning Stock Route and Surrounding Country

Artist(s): Kumpaya Girgaba, Ngamayu Ngamaru Bidu, Mitutu Mabel Wakarta, Ngalangka Nola Taylor, Thelma Judson, Marjorie Yates, Jugarda Dulcie Gibbs, Yuwali Janice Nixon, Mantararr Rosie Williams, Nyangapa Nora Nangapa, Bugai Whylouter, Nora Wompi, Jakayu Biljabu, Morika Biljabu

Date created: 2008
Art Centre(s): Martumili Artists
Size: 292.3x129
Medium: acrylic on canvas

Artwork Story: Kumpaya Girgaba laid out the initial design for this painting, which all the artists collaboratively customised and elaborated. When the painting was nearing completion, Kumpaya called out the names of all the waterholes depicted here. This painting, which was produced by 14 women artists at Kunawarritji (Well 33), represents a stretch of Country crossed by the Canning Stock Route. It depicts a number of the waterholes that were made into wells, but many other permanent and ephemeral water sources are also included. When the Canning Stock Route was in use as a droving highway, many of the artists relied on these other waters to ensure their safe passage through this contested land.

Place of creation: Well 33

Artwork copyright: ©2013 Kumpaya Girgaba, Ngamayu Ngamaru Bidu, Mitutu Mabel Wakarta, Ngalangka Nola Taylor, Thelma Judson, Marjorie Yates, Jugarda Dulcie Gibbs, Yuwali Janice Nixon, Mantararr Rosie Williams, Nyangapa Nora Nangapa, Bugai Whylouter, Nora Wompi, Jakayu Biljabu, Morika Biljabu
Catalogue ID: KG/NB/MW/NT/TJ/MY/DG/JN/RW/NN/BW/NW/JB/MB/201/MM
Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on use

Photographer: Jason McCarthy
Photograph date: 2008-06-09
Photography copyright: National Museum of Australia
Format: Image
Category: Artwork

Artist(s) biography: Kumpaya Girgaba born about 1945 Manyjilyjarra language group, Karimarra skin group Parnngurr community Martumili Artists A respected law woman and cultural leader, Kumpaya was born near Kiwirrkurra and grew up around the Canning Stock Route. For many years her family avoided contact with Europeans, but eventually they moved to Jigalong mission to join their relatives. Kumpaya learned how to paint and weave baskets while visiting family in Balgo, Fitzroy Crossing and Patjarr. She is credited with introducing these skills to Martu people. Ngamayu Ngamaru Bidu born about 1950 Manyjilyjarra language group, Karimarra skin group Parnngurr community Martumili Artists Ngamayu grew up around Pitu. As a child, she encountered surveyor Len Beadell, who was grading roads near Well 22. He gave Ngamayu and her siblings fruit. Not realising that it was meant to be eaten raw, they cooked the fruit until it was completely dried up. After meeting Beadell, Ngamayu’s family was picked up at Parnngurr rock hole and taken to Jigalong. Mitutu Mabel Warkarta born about 1920 Warnman language group, Milangka skin group Parnngurr community Martumili Artists After Mabel’s mother and father died, she was ‘grown up’ by one of her aunts. She walked around Karlamilyi and Warnman Country, and when she was older she travelled with her promised husband. After walking into Jigalong, she worked on various cattle stations. Mabel married twice more after the death of her first husband. Ngalangka Nola Taylor senior translator and project adviser Nola works closely with Martumili Artists as a translator and adviser for Martu people. In 2007 she joined the ‘return to Country’ trip at Well 36. She has translated the majority of the Martu oral histories for the Canning Stock Route project. As a cultural mentor under the leadership of Martu elder, Kumpaya Girgaba, she has also provided guidance and support to curator Hayley Atkins, filmmaker Morika Biljabu and the whole project team. She has helped facilitate many trips in Martu Country. Nola is also an artist featured in the Canning Stock Route collection. Thelma Judson born about 1956 Manyjilyjarra language group, Milangka skin group Parnngurr community Martumili Artists Thelma was born in the Percival Lakes region and grew up around Yimiri and Kurturarra. In 1964 her family was one of the last Martu groups to leave the desert and be reunited with their families at Jigalong mission. After she left school, Thelma moved to Strelley station and married in Jigalong, where she had her children. Today she lives in Parnngurr with her husband, Yanjimi Peter Rowlands, and their children. Marjorie Yates born about 1950 Manyjilyjarra language group, Karimarra skin group Kunawarritji Community Martumili Artists Marjorie was married to senior Martu man Jeffrey James, who died in 2008. After establishing Kunawarritji community in the 1980s, she and her husband raised their children there. Marjorie lives at Kunawarritji today with her children and grandchildren. Jugarda Dulcie Gibbs born about 1947, died 2011 Manyjilyjarra language group, Milangka skin group Punmu and Kunawarritji communities Martumili Artists Dulcie grew up in the country between Kunawarritji and Yimiri. In 1957, after the death of her father at Karlamilyi (Rudall River), the family moved to Jigalong. With her sisters Muni Rita Simpson and Mantararr Rosie Williams, she returned to her Country at Punmu in 1982. She now lives in Kunawarritji with her husband, children and grandchildren. Yuwali Janice Nixon born about 1947 Manyjilyjarra, Mangala language groups, Purungu skin group Parnngurr community Martumili Artists Yuwali was born at Yulpu soak in the Percival Lakes. In 1964 her family group, which consisted only of women and children, tried to evade a native welfare patrol officer who was attempting to bring them in to Jigalong mission. This story is depicted in the book Cleared Out and the film Contact. Yuwali later worked on a number of stations, but finally moved closer to her Country in 1982 when she moved to Punmu. Mantararr Rosie Williams born about 1943 Manyjilyjarra, Mangala language groups, Milangka skin group Punmu community Martumili Artists Rosie was born at Kurupu, near Kurturarra in the Percival Lakes. After her father died at Karlamilyi (Rudall River), Rosie and her sisters, Jugarda Dulcie Gibbs and Muni Rita Simpson, met up with some Martu people who told them that their relatives were at Jigalong, and so they moved to the mission. In 1982 Rosie returned to her homelands at Punmu, where she lives today with her children and grandchildren. Nyangapa Nora Nangapa born about 1916 Manyjilyjarra language group, Karimarra skin group Kunawarritji community Martumili Artists I was born near Lipuru. We went from Lipuru to Wajaparni and Kilykily. They looked after me there as I grew. I went east … and kept on going towards Balgo, travelling with the drovers all the way. Nyangapa lives at Kunawarritji and travels regularly between Kunawarritji and Balgo. She paints for both Martumili and Warlayirti Artists, and many younger artists describe having learned to paint by watching her example. Bugai Whylouter born about 1945 Warnman, Kartujarra language groups, Purungu skin group Kunawarritji community Martumili Artists I saw whitefellas first time in Parnngurr. We were climbing up the hills [to get away]. Bugai was born at Balfour Downs and grew up around Kartarru (Well 24), Wantili (Well 25), Tiwa (Well 26) and Wuranu (Well 29). She travelled around Karlamilyi with her husband, and later with drovers on the stock route. In 1963 her family met surveyor Len Beadell, who was grading roads. They were taken to Jigalong. Nora Wompi born about 1935 Manyjilyjarra, Kukatja language groups, Nungurrayi skin group Kunawarritji and Balgo communities Martumili Artists Wompi was born with ‘pussycat’ (feral cat) Dreaming at Pingakurangu rock hole near Kunawarritji. As a young girl, she travelled north with the drovers to Billiluna and Balgo. Today she lives at Kunawarritji, but continues to travel regularly between Well 33 and Balgo, where she has many relatives. Wompi paints for both Warlayirti and Martumili art centres. Jakayu Biljabu born about 1937 Manyjilyjarra language group, Purungu skin group Punmu community Martumili Artists Jakayu was born near Pitu, east of Well 25, and grew up around Kunawarritji, Rarrki and Nyilangkurr, where her father died. In 1963, with her husband and extended family, she met the surveyor Len Beadell, who was grading roads for the Woomera rocket range. This meeting prompted them to join their relatives who were living at Jigalong mission. In 1982 Jakayu moved to Punmu community, where she lives today with her children and grandchildren. Morika Biljabu photographer and filmmaker Morika lives at Punmu in the heart of Martu Country. Her passion for her family and community inspires all of her film and photographic work. She joined the Canning Stock Route Project in 2007 for the ‘return to Country’ trip at Well 36. She recorded the artists’ workshops and produced a film featuring her grandmother, Jakayu Biljabu. In 2008 her photographs were published in the Weekend Australian magazine; that same year she held her first solo exhibition Ngayunpala Kujungka (We Are One).
Artwork Diagram: canning_stock_route_and_surrounding_country_various_detail

Accession ID: 20131014_FORM_MIRA_B0045_0071

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.

Paruku

Artist(s): Kampirr Veronica Lulu, Kurpaliny Bessie Doonday, Wijiji Anna Johns,Japurra Wendy Wise, Mikarri Shirley Brown, Jamiya Chamia Samuels,Tanja Lyn Manson, Nana Daisy Kungah and Kim Mahood

Date created: 2007
Art Centre(s): Paruku Indigenous Protected Area
Size: 305.5x138
Medium: acrylic on canvas

Artwork Story: In 2001 the native title rights of the Tjurabalan people were recognised by the Federal Court of Australia. More than 4300 square kilometres of their traditional lake Country was declared to be an Indigenous Protected Area.

Today the Paruku Indigenous Protected Area is managed by Tjurabalan traditional owners. Its diverse activities focus on protecting cultural heritage, managing the Paruku (Lake Gregory) lake system’s ecological biodiversity and passing on traditional knowledge to younger generations.

Kartiya used to keep him, that land, but people knew it was for them. My brother [Rex Johns] said, ‘We gotta keep the stories alive, the land alive. We all staying in Mulan now, that’s our country.’
Kurpaliny Bessie Doonday, Halls Creek, 2007

As part of the management of their lands, Paruku artists have been producing extraordinary hybrid maps, which fuse the topographic detail of Western mapmaking with fields of intricate dotting. This map of Paruku shows the rich plant food and medicinal resources surrounding the lake country and the traditional burning practices still employed by Tjurabalan people to maintain its vitality.

Paruku Indigenous Protected Area Collection

Collection: Nabung Collection
Location depicted: Paruku (Lake Gregory)
Place of creation: Lake Stretch
Latitude/Longitude: -19.0796/128.2542

Artwork copyright: ©2013 Kampirr Veronica Lulu, Kurpaliny Bessie Doonday, Wijiji Anna Johns, Japurra Wendy Wise, Mikarri Shirley Brown, Jamiya Chamia Samuels, Tanja Lyn Manson, Nana Daisy Kungah and Kim Mahood
Catalogue ID: WW/BD/VL/CS/AJ/SB/127/PAR
Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on use

Photographer: Jason McCarthy
Photograph date: 2009-06-26
Photography copyright: National Museum of Australia
Format: Image
Category: Artwork

Artist(s) biography:
Kampirr Veronica Lulu
born 1952
Walmajarri language group
Napangarti skin group
Mulan community
Paruku Indigenous Protected Area
[We always sit together and talk about Paruku. My father used to tell story and sing song for Sturt Creek, teach all the kids.

Lulu was born and grew up around Nyarna (Lake Stretch). Before settling at Mulan in her father’s homeland, she lived at Billiluna station and then Balgo, where she helped establish Palyalatju Maparnpa health service. Today she works for Paruku Indigenous Protected Area and paints for both Paruku and Warlayirti art centres.

Kurpaliny Bessie Doonday
born about 1940s
Walmajarri language group
Napangarti skin group
Mulan community
Paruku Indigenous Protected Area
Bessie was born near Billiluna and worked at the old station before travelling to Fitzroy Crossing and Christmas Creek, where her brother Yanpiyarti Ned Cox was living. After returning to Balgo, Bessie’s father, Tiger, and brother, Rex Johns, began advocating for their people to return to Paruku and establish Mulan community.

My brother [Rex Johns] said, ‘We gotta keep the stories alive, the land alive’.

Wijiji Anna Johns
born 1949, died 2013
Ngardi language group
Nakamarra skin group
Mulan community
Paruku Indigenous Protected Area
I was schooling there until I got married in 1968. That’s how I got out of the dormitory.

Anna was born at old Balgo but was taken by nuns and raised in the mission, where she learned English before her own Ngardi language. She and her husband, Rex Johns, worked on stations, raised five children and lived at Balgo before setting up Mulan community.

Japurra Wendy Wise
born 1960, died 2011
Walmajarri language group
Nakarra skin group
Mulan community
Paruku Indigenous Protected Area
Wendy was born at Kurungal near Christmas Creek and grew up in Billiluna. She now lives in Mulan, at the northern end of the Canning Stock Route. Wendy is the sister of Milkujung Jewess James and cousin-sister of Clifford Brooks. Her mother married Rover Thomas’s brother, Whisky. She calls Rover ‘Father’ and Nyuju Stumpy Brown ‘Auntie’. Wendy works closely with Paruku Indigenous Protected Area on cultural projects.

Mikarri Shirley Brown
born 1961
Walmajarri language group
Nangala skin group
Mulan community
Paruku Indigenous Protected Area
Shirley is the daughter of Bessie Doonday and Malcolm Brown, whose father was the Billiluna station manager, Len Brown. She was born in Billiluna and grew up with her grandmother in Alice Springs. In 2001 her elders asked her to set up the Paruku Indigenous Protected Area (IPA). Shirley continues to work for the IPA today, running Caring for Country, Ranger and Collecting Traditional Knowledge programs.

Jamiya Chamia Samuels
born about 1939
Walmajarri language group
Nyapuru skin group
Billiluna community
Paruku Indigenous Protected Area
Chamia’s Country is Nyarna (Lake Stretch), where she was born with green budgerigar Dreaming. Chamia’s father, Wimpingkil Roger, was a drover on the Canning Stock Route, and as a girl she worked on Billiluna station. Chamia is a senior and respected law woman and has spent many years teaching children and young women the songs, stories, dances and cultural knowledge of their Country.

Tanja Lyn Manson
born 1944
Walmajarri language group
Nakarra skin group
Billiluna community
Paruku Indigenous Protected Area
Lyn was born at Moola Bulla station. As a child she walked with her mother to Ruby Plains, where they settled and worked on the station. After her first children were born, Lyn walked to Billiluna, looking for her family. Although many people left Billiluna when the station manager became threatening, Lyn’s family remained and successfully advocated for the establishment of Billiluna community.

Nana Daisy Kungah
born about 1940s
Walmajarri language group
Napanangka skin group
Billiluna community
Paruku Indigenous Protected Area
We doing painting for IPA [Paruku Indigenous Protected Area], telling story about old-people-time.

Daisy belongs to both Paruku, her mother’s Country, and Kaningarra (Well 48), her father’s Country. She was born and grew up in the Sturt Creek area, before coming to Billiluna as a teenager. Today she works closely with the IPA, teaching children about their culture and Country.

Kim Mahood
born 1953 Braidwood, New South Wales
Kim was born in Perth and grew up in Central Australia and in cattle country on Mongrel Downs station in the Tanami Desert. An artist and writer, her memoir Craft for a Dry Lake was published in 2000 and won the 2001 New South Wales Premier’s Award and the Age non-fiction Book of the Year. She has been working with Paruku artists on cultural mapping projects since 2005.
Artwork Diagram: paruku_various_detail

Accession ID: 20131014_FORM_MIRA_B0045_0010

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.

Kinyu

Artist(s): Eubena (Yupinya) Nampitjin, Wuntupayi Jane Gimme

Date created: 2007
Art Centre(s): Warlayirti Artists
Size: 184x122
Medium: acrylic on linen

Artwork Story: That waterhole I paint is my own Country.
Eubena (Yupinya) Nampitjin, Nyarna (Lake Stretch), 2007

In 2007 Jane travelled to the Country where her mother and older sisters had grown up. Eubena and Jane painted this canvas together at Kilykily (Well 36). It represents the rock holes and soaks connected to Jarntu.

Location depicted: Kinyu / Jarntu (Well 35)
Place of creation: Well 36
Latitude/Longitude: -22.13954/125.28315

Artwork copyright: ©2013 Eubena (Yupinya) Nampitjin, Wuntupayi Jane Gimme
Catalogue ID: EN/JG/47/WA
Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on use

Photographer: Jason McCarthy
Photograph date: 2009-06-18
Photography copyright: National Museum of Australia
Format: Image
Category: Artwork

Artist(s) biography:
Eubena (Yupinya) Nampitjin
born about 1920, died 2013
Manyjilyjarra, Kukatja, Wangkajunga, Putijarra language groups
Nampitjin skin group
Balgo community
Warlayirti Artists
Eubena grew up around Jarntu and Nyirla. With her first husband, Gimme, she travelled north along the Canning Stock Route with the drovers. While raising their six daughters at Balgo mission, Eubena helped Gimme and a local priest compile a Kukatja-language dictionary. Eubena began a famous painting partnership with her second husband, Wimmitji Tjapangarti, and her paintings have inspired the work of many other members of her extended desert family.

Wuntupayi Jane Gimme 
born 1958
Kukatja language group
Nungurrayi skin group
Balgo community
Warlayirti Artists
Born at Tjumuntura, near the old Balgo mission, Jane is the eldest of Eubena (Yupinya) Nampitjin’s surviving daughters. Jane learned from her mother the stories of her Country and the ways of painting it. She is an active artist in her own right and more than once has been elected chairperson of Warlayirti Artists. 

Accession ID: 20131011_FORM_MIRA_B0044_0041

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.

Putuparri Tom Lawford

 

Putuparri Tom Lawford - advising on the Canning Stock Route Project [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Putuparri Tom Lawford talks about his work as a cultural advisor on the Canning Stock Route Project, and speaks at length about the issues that surround the exhibition.

Date: 2009-11
Art centre(s): CSR Project, Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency, Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_214_Putuparri_Tom_Lawford
Date: 2009-11
Location Recorded: Old Halls Creek
Latitude/Longitude: -18.251269/127.782303

Cultural Protocols: Public Access
Access: Public
Full transcript: Nicole Ma: Maybe what we should do is just say who it is and the day. Putuparri Tom Lawford: So I look straight at that camera, or there? NM: Let’s see you looking at Carly. It’s good if you could do both, because you’re talking to her and you’re talking to the audience too so whatever you feel like. Carly Davenport: So we’re talking to Tom Lawford on the 18 November at Palm Springs I think it’s called, just outside of the top of Halls Creek … So Tom, you’ve been working on the project the longest out of everyone in terms of the full team. What, what do you think’s been the best thing that you’ve seen in working with all the other people from all the different areas coming together? TL: Best thing is seeing all their hard work coming together, one big area in Canberra and all the old people handed on that stuff, we got some sent with us and yeah, it’s all getting exciting, and yeah. CD: And you started working with the Return to Country trip in 2007 as cultural advisor and translator and you’ve been in that role ever since, and from that first big trip to Country, how have you seen the project grow? TL: Well from a little trip, it turned out to be a big trip and today it’s getting more big, and too all this stuff will be not only here in Australia but travellin’ round a good way to showcase Canning Stock Road where people come from and what it mean to them. CD: And what do you think it means to them? TL: The Canning Stock Road is place of spiritual, like a Dreaming place for old people and this fella just came along and put wells in there, and all that area is Countrymen people, but Dreaming place too. And another that thing he did, that road it move people away to different towns. And another way – it’s a good thing too so people know where they come from, and their families, and they can travel on the stock road to meet people they know quicker. CD: And for telling the story for history the right way, because a lot of people are telling us this, this is the right way it should be told for Fitzroy Crossing people, what do you think they value in the project? TL: Well, Fitzroy people, they’re from that area anyway, the Canning Stock Route area, and they all left to come into stations and town and, like it’s, to them it’s like showing where they come from and where they belong to, where there heart is really, what they paint, what people paint – it’s not line or anything, it there Country, how they see it and this project, yeah, gonna do real good for them and it’s gonna open a lot of eyes – white people eyes – to find out the history of the Canning Stock Route through Aboriginal people. CD: And do you think that Fitzroy Crossing people are really happy for that message to go all around the world? TL: Yeah, yeah, they all happy and welcome. CD: And tell us a little bit about your role, it’s been a really important one for everything we’ve done form the beginning, anything you wanted to say or talk about … TL: What I’m doing on the project really is making sure what you mob say or do is the way that we feel is culturally not the wrong way. Like getting stories from one people sometimes, you know they, don’t like telling stories, like they can tell you a story, good stories, but some people don’t tell you other stories because too sad or something, but yeah, my job is to make sure that everything is working smooth, and going on … following that one line, not turning off and anyway. CD: Yeah, you’ve really helped with helping for trust with all the old people especially, and young people to go yeah, that project, that team, they’re doing alright, and Putuparri’s working with them, and if they get off track, he’ll make sure they get curators on the right track, so it’s been really valuable. How’ve you found the young curators on the project so far? TL: Yeah they alright, they learning too, they alright, yeah they getting there. You know, you got Louise from Kununurra and she’s from, we’re all from a different tribe and a different area and working on this Canning Stock Route Project, and yeah she’s doing real good, getting there. CD: And Murungkurr Terry Murray? TL: Yeah, he’s an alright bloke, he, yeah, happy go lucky bloke, and he don’t like to talk too much but, he doing the best he can and yeah, and them three young curators, Hayley, Louise and Terry, they make them old people proud with what they’re doin’, and they should be proud because they, they up there, the main people. CD: Tom in your work for [KALACC - ?] and lots of different things, for that movie and all around the world, you’ve been doing lots of different things for your people. How do you feel, as a custodian of this project, that this message will be received from people around other countries? TL: Yeah, well I’m sure that a lot of people from other countries heard about the Canning Stock Route, but not through what we’re doing, what we’re doing is from a different way of what they’re seein’ or heard about the Canning Stock Route, like it’s through Indigenous people, through our people, how they are seeing the Canning Stock Route come to life. CD: Do you wanna talk a little bit about some of the histories, and things that you, that happened out there at all? TL: Yeah, I know a little bit about what happened, a lot of killings mainly, there’s all that, and our, most of our old people was working for all them mob, taking cattle up to Wyndham, and they were meeting people on the road, black people, bush people, and telling them you gotta go back this way, there’s a big mission there, and taking people back. CD: People were treated really roughly weren’t they? TL: Yeah, some people were treated real rough, and a couple of ladies got treated real bad too, there too, from Canning and his crew. CD: Do you reckon that arts a really good way of getting those stories out for people to accept and learn and talk about? TL: [nods] This project we’re doing, this project is doing what – the history thing, but real history that’s coming up through the project, through painting and stories, that’s where people will see what happened on the Canning Stock Route. They think, tourist think it’s just a road. You can travel on the Canning Stock Route, but the Canning Stock Route got a lot of history from Wiluna to [XX - ?]. CD: And your role, really importantly as translator, you know many languages, do you wanna talk a little bit about the different languages and the different groups, so the people can really understand that it’s not just one people? TL: Yeah, for the Canning Stock Route, there’s too many different language groups in a room , you know you got Martu people, [XX - ?] people, [XX - ?], [XX - ?] , you know, [XX - ?] all mixed and they all from one area, from the one road, but they’re all living in towns, you know some live in [XX - ?], Fitzroy, down here near Halls Creek, they all everywhere, but all from that Country and they all got stories to tell in their own different language group, that’s why I do translate all their stories into English from all their different language group and make sure that it’s all right story not other story. CD: Has that been a really big job for you? TL: Yeah, big job – sometimes it hard, sometimes easy but we have to do it, to figure it out. Some good stories, some sad stories, But that’s how life goes, I guess. NM: What would, if there was one thing that people would take away from looking at this exhibition, what would you hope that that would be, the one main thing? TL: What I hope the people take away from this exhibition is the truth of what the Canning Stock Route is about , and yeah, the truth really. How the Canning Stock Route came about. How it moved people all around the Kimberly area. CD: How important is leadership for all the young people for all the different jobs? How important do you think it is for these young ones to work in the arts, work in film? TL: I reckon it’s important because art tell you too many stories, old people, stories they paint, that little painting or big painting tell you too many stories about that Country and it’s important because young people now days don’t understand that, you know. And the mob now growing up need to understand that isn’t just a painting, they look at it like ‘ahh, look at this painting, it’s just lines over this dots and this scribble everywhere’, but all them things got stories, got meaning and, like that old lady when she paint that tree Well 35 story, and when you have a look at it, that’s not a painting. But that painting’s got history, too many stories, and that’s what these young people they don’t understand. I think through this project it might make them more understand. CD: You were the main facilitator, you were the dude that put the whole Ngumpan workshop together, and some of the things you said at the time were pretty important when it came to the old people exchanging to the younger people, can you say anything about that intergenerational sharing? TL: Yeah, that woman, with the [XX - ?] woman, [XX - ?], [XX - ?], there’s one dance that hasn’t been performed for a number of years, because it’s Country on the Canning Stock Route, and we decided that we should ask this old fella, grandfather, [XX - ?], teach this other old fella, old Hanson Boxer, that dance and yeah, and teachin’ and singing them all singin’, and we had a meeting there, a lot of old ladies, Mon was there, Me, Tim I think, just talking about all the dances, [Kaningarra - ?], that dance and talking about to open up again so people can learn and sing and dance again, and it happened at Ngumpan, yeah. Hansen Boxer he danced a song and old people. What made me notice was, old people, they only really the ones who know how to sing it, and they aren’t gonna be there too long and we need to do more teaching, that’s what, were I work, back in Fitzroy, we’re talking about recording all these songs, the whole lot from [XX - ?] right down to [XX - ?] and the new one and other stuff too, you know record. CD: For that Ngumpan workshop there, it was the biggest group of people wasn’t there? TL: Yeah well, we cater for about 40 or 30 people but more than that came, we had too many kids, yeah all the kids were there doing something dancing – that’s teaching yeah, from old people down to the young ones and they’re all , yeah, they like dancing all them kids. CD: Was it true that all them young boys were lined up at the petrol station trying to get into cars? TL: Yeah, when we went into town to pick up a couple of stuff from [XX - ?] and fuel up, there were all these blokes, or one bloke come ask me for a lift to [XX - ?], and I said, ‘yeah come on, you can come’, and I thought it was one, then we had a car load. All these young boy from [XX - ?]. We take ‘em back and they all camped there, camped at the spring. They all had come for this workshop and plus we had ladies there teachin’ young girls how to make coolamon, boomerang making stuff, and collecting little [XX - ?] or little grass [XX - ?], yeah we camped there, one week. CD: And through this project time, do you wanna remember and list all the places and communities that you’ve been workin’ with [XX - ?], you’ve been to a lot of different parts of the Western deserts together, just so the audience can understand how you’ve been moving around. TL: Yeah, well from [XX - ?] to Cotton Creek, [laughs] ahh, from Cotton Creek to 33, yeah from everywhere [XX - ?], [XX - ?], [XX - ?], Fitzroy, this project here it take me everywhere, I thought, to me really this project was only in our area, but he went right down, goes through too many language groups, and you know you got , probably get people living in Perth and they probably come from that area, parents or grandparents come from [XX - ?]. And yeah, it’s in a way real good meeting up with people, other people from that one road, through the project. And these girls are, Hayley and Louise, and young Morika, for them too, you open their eyes too so they can meet other people, make them more proud in what they’re doing. CD: You’ve been to Perth as well, next year when we launch this exhibition you’ve got a really important job, because if anything, you know you’re keeping an eye on all of us, making sure everything’s happening properly. You’re very much the statesman for the project, for the politicians, leaders from around all the other states who will be coming and do you wanna … ? TL: Yeah well next year I’m gonna be the main part, so I’ll be making sure that people like John [laughs], and everybody doing the right thing. And yeah, we’ll have ministers and all kind of people there. All them people, who don’t even know about the Canning Stock Route, and with what they seen, they’ll find out what the Canning Stock Route is really. CD: Also a good chance to talk to them about any other ideas or things that KALACC is needing or wanting, what the old people are saying, you’re gonna have a direct communication. TL: Yeah well, when we’re talking in [XX - ?] too yeah, yeah like [XX - ?] and all kind of people I think through this project, them kartiya people might see what we do through FORM with this CSRP and then we got Kimberley people and Pilbara people, they’re strong people, strong minded people, so we gotta talk to them more. NM: Probably that’s a lot of what people don’t know that there are strong people there, you only hear the bad news. TL: Yeah, because what we do at KALACC, we do other stuff too – bringing back remains, and this and from Canberra mob too, so then find out that we people, we know nothing we got, we can talk to them and through this project we got one road, one, like all the people, all from that CSR they got one mind and one heart. One wangka [language], that’s what will make them see. CD: That’s beautiful. NM: Yeah. TL: That’s why this project got started, because there’s so much talent, so much strong talent and people in the region in a remote area, and that’s what the rest of the world needs to know. And particularly through KALACC and Mangkaja, that valley, in that valley there’s just so much happening. TL: Yeah, not too many stuff happening in Fitzroy at the moment. CD: Families are strong there though. TL: Mmm. CD: That’s the other thing that comes out from this project, really naturally, people sharing their stories. TL: Yeah, like this project, he like a family, like one big family, we all go together like one big family, from one area. Even though we come from other language group, different language groups. We’re all one. And from that one is that one history of all the whole road. CD: Wow, that’s cool NM: Fantastic. END
Video format: DVD/MiniDV/Quicktime movie
Video recording: 106 Kimberley Approvals, Tom, Louise IV's, Nov 09
Source: CSROH_214_Putuparri_Tom_Lawford
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Putuparri Tom Lawford; © 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.

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.

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, 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.

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