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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

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.

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

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.

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.

Putuparri Tom Lawford


Putuparri Tom Lawford - Ngumpan workshop 2008 [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Putuparri Tom Lawford talks about the Ngumpan workshop in 2008. He discusses the importance of learning to make artefacts and also discusses the Kaningarra dance that was performed for the first time in a long time.

Date: 2008
Art centre(s): CSR Project, Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_291_Putuparri_Tom_Lawford
Date: 2008
Transcribed By: Monique La Fontaine
Location Recorded: Mount Newman Creek

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Access: Public
Notes: This transcript is transcribed from Karen Dayman’s fieldnotes.
Full transcript: [Speaking about the Ngumpan workshop in September 2008] Putuparri Tom Lawford: It was good for young ones and old people. Old people were happy because all the young ones been dancing and learning artefact making, karli [boomerangs], ngurti [coolamon] and mukurru [hitting sticks] and collecting materials for ceremony. They been passing down to their grandkids so they can carry on that dancing. Dancing is the easy part, what we need to do now is get them to learn the songs for the dances. Kaningarra was never performed for a long time, so what we did at Ngumpan was get the old fellas together and we talked about trying to get Kaningarra back, the dance, the songs. There’s only one old fella [Spider Snell] who still knows how to sing that song as well as the old ladies - all the bosses for Kaningarra have passed away. Spider wanted to pass it onto the rightful owners before he passed away. So it was good, all the old people been singing it and teaching it to Pampirla [Hansen Boxer] because he’s a Kaningarra man and he can carry that on. Old ladies been crying, it was like they were bringing something back from the dead. Spider’s a Kurtal man, we need to keep that carrying on because Kaningarra and Kurtal are like brothers in the Dreamtime. What I liked about that workshop was the young ones, the young kids, they were all humbugging me for dancing and making boomerang, they been waiting for us in town to take them out there. We go from generation to generation: from old people to our generation, and from me to younger generation. We had more kids there than adults. The little ones were really interested, and the young men were too. We had kids and we had teenagers, and they all wanted to have a go. And it made the old ones happy too to see their grandkids, sons and daughters up there dancing. If we had more time to get everybody involved, it would be good to focus on the girls next time, so the girls don’t miss out. We hope they keep it in their heads for the future. Some of the boys were learning how to make artefacts properly for the first time. After Ngumpan them young boys felt proud dancing in front of all their CFountrymen and different people from all over the Kimberley at the big KALACC festival at Mt Barnett, dancing their own dance from their ancestors, with the karli [boomerangs] and mukurru [hitting sticks] that they made with their own hands at Ngumpan. And it made old people and me proud too. END
Source: CSROH_291_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.

Putuparri Tom Lawford

Putuparri Tom Lawford - songlines, technology [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Putuparri Tom Lawford describes songlines and boundaries, and talks about how much learning there is in becoming a law man. He also talks about technology, and how sometimes it is needed, but that it can also distract from learning about Country.

Date: 2012-06
Art centre(s): CSR Project, Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_279_Putuparri_Tom_Lawford
Date: 2012-06
Transcribed By: Mollie Hewitt
Location Recorded: Newman Creek

Cultural Protocols: Public Access
Access: Public
Notes: This was filmed on the repatriation trip to Newman in 2012. It was transcribed for subtitles, and it is therefore incomplete (and missing interviewer questions) and includes time codes from the film footage.
Full transcript: [Time Code: 22.49]

[Tom Lawford drawing in the sand]

Tom Lawford: Big Country, Australia. Canning Stock Route is just one bit, one little bit there. We will only focus on this bit.

These are the lines right, songlines that travel up and down the Countryside. And across, they go across. And every little circle, this is different tribes, this is their Country. And this mob can’t intrude into their Country, they can’t trespass. They got their own stories. Every little square. This is their own area and you can’t trespass.

[Pointing to his map drawn in the sand] You got up north here, Halls Creek, Billiluna, Halls Creek. And Wiluna down south. And you got the Stock Road. The Canning Stock Road cuts through all these different places. And there is Wells, some say waterholes, in people’s Country.

There are wells on the Canning Stock Route but they are people’s water. Where the Canning Stock Route cut through it took over our water and they made wells. And in a way Alfred Canning, he trespassed onto people’s land, Country.

He took over their waters for animals, to feed cattle. So these lines here, they are all songlines. That is how people are connected, they follow these songline – down, up and across.

[Tom is asked to explain songlines.]

Songlines are ... there’s Dreaming songs for the public and for women and children to hear and there are secret, sacred songlines only for men only. And these songlines they follow a being – like a person. Say this being travelled across this Country and they followed a songline through and the songline even travel across the border – to the territory [Northern Territory]. And then people follow it and then these guys from across the border [of the Northern Territory] they take it on.

Yeah and these songlines have different languages. One songline, one language sing it and then it change for another mob, another language sing it. But it is the same [story].

Well the Canning Stock Route, it broke the Country up. Most of these songlines up north, across here and some down here.

People were living in harmony, in peace. They had their own areas. One mob got their little square there. And the Canning Stock Route it cuts through different people’s land.

[Time code: 27.25]

[Tom is asked about how you know where the boundaries are for different people’s Country.]

Landmarks. Like that hill over there. So if you go over that hill over there it could be another tribe’s Country. You can only go as far as this creek but don’t go beyond that creek.

Well it’s in us because we are Wangkajunga tribe and our area is here [pointing at the sand map] and it’s Martu tribe here and you got another tribe here. And your tribe, you know how far your boundaries are.

It is right across Australia. There is too many tribes, right down to Tasmania.

Well some other tribes, some storyline or songline they cut through that tribe and through other tribes too. You know this songline comes from that area, through this area, cuts through and finishes in this mob area here.

That song itself will tell you. When they are singing a song, it’s a story, it will tell you how far it comes from this tribe to another tribe. And that is the good thing about all Western Desert people, it that we got the one songline that follows on. Even though we come from different parts of the Great Sandy Desert.

We still do that, practice that during our law time. Like the ladies got their own, you can’t interfere with women, men can’t.

That is why you gotta keep it [all that knowledge] in your head. You gotta know, because without that, what would you be? You would just be like a leaf blowing in the wind. You’d be nothing. That is why it is really important to learn from the old people, keep learning. Because, in our culture you don’t count yourself as a man, as a law man, until you know everything. Not half.

[Tom is asked how you become a law man.]

You can’t claim it for yourself, saying, ‘I’m a law man.’ You gotta go through everything to say it. Then the old people gotta go, ‘you’re right, you’ve finished your thing’. Not on your own, they gotta say it. You gotta finish your culture to be how they are. You can be fifty or forty to be a law man, could be eighty. Not twenty or thirty. Not until they say you are one.

[Time code: 32.20]

Some sacred stuff when you keep coming you get taught the real stuff. It gets harder and harder.
Even coming here, to a place like this you are learning. THE COUNTRY IS TEACHING YOU. EVEN THE TREES CAN TEACH YOU.

You gotta cut away technology from your head. Leave the mobile phone and computer aside. And then you have gotta think about your home, for your culture. If you keep that in your mind, and think about what you want to be and how you want to be, without these other interruptions, you can make it in life.

Mobile phone won’t get you anywhere, technology won’t get you anywhere. But we have to use technology, everything is changing, the Country is changing. If you go back to Country, back out to the bush we need a GPS now to find our way back. Most of the old people are all gone now to show us the way through the Country. We need the technology now and then, but not all the time.

To live in this world now you need have both, you have to learn white man way and your own way to live in this world. Otherwise you will never survive.

Yeah I feel it [responsibility]. But looking at things now, how things are changing, you can feel it. And what’s happening to our mob you know, with alcohol and drugs, with rubbish things that are killing them slowly. And it is a big responsibility. Especially when you got kids like these mob here, you gotta be there for them, not for you. You gotta be there for the next mob coming up.

Video recording: 03_DAY_THREE
Source: CSROH_279_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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Clint Dixon

Clint Dixon - curators' meeting interview [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Clint Dixon talks about seeing the exhibition for the first time, and going out in Perth afterwards.

Date: 2008-06-13
Art centre(s): CSR Project
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_184_Clint_Dixon
Date: 2008-06-13
Location Recorded: William Street, Northbridge
Latitude/Longitude: -31.95/115.85

Cultural Protocols: Public Access
Access: Public
Full transcript: KJ Kenneth Martin: When are you going to get a haircut?

Clint Dixon: I don’t know. Sometime maybe next week. Yeah, try to dye my hair too.

KM: How was your week?

CD: Yeah it’s very good, pretty cold but I think I’m adapting to it. I think, yeah. Yeah it’s pretty good, good to see everyone again.

KM: Was this time as fun as last time?

CD: I think it’s just the same, yeah same things. As I said, get to know everybody again. Back working, I think we had lots more dinner out this time, thanks to Carly and the Form crew. Yeah, I guess, then KJ and Thomas joined the crew this time, made it much better, more boys than two separate boys and girls.

KM: There weren’t as many boys last time?

CD: Nah, it was only me and Terry. Yeah.

KM: So do you mean it was more fun this time, with more boys?

CD: Yeah, you could say that.

KM: What was your most fun part?

CD: My most fun part would be the four of us going out, no plans, just go to a bar, a few drinks from there go dancing. We were supposed to look for a pool table to play pool but we ended up going to a pub, or nightclub or something like that, just down the road from the Ibis Hotel. There was no pool table so we ended up taking over the dance floor, well not me, there was a big tall fella, I forgot his name. Nah, I can’t name drop. So, yeah he just took over the dance floor all night.

KM: Would you like to give us an action replay of KJ's dancing?

CD: No room here. Need a bigger floor. Nah, it’s alright, probably next time.

KM: Did you get any girls phone numbers?

CD: Nah, nothing. Nothing. I think I was just too happy dancing, I was running amuck dancing. Good music, good beat. Yeah, someone pulled out the ‘plane’ move, I think it’s the plan, someone the ‘sprinkler’ or something and I think I tried doing the John Travolta move, but I think it didn’t work out. Maybe I need more practice. We should have a little dance off. Just bring it, we’ll all bring it.

KM: How did you feel about the launch yesterday?

CD: Yeah, after watching all the paintings we laid out at the last curator meeting we had, for the first time we finally saw it straightened out and yeah it looks amazing. And yeah, just like to congratulate all the curators for putting up the show last night, worked real hard right through the week in choosing works to put up, like, their own design and how to match what walls, like make it all even. I think what they did is got four of their best, put it on each wall and from there the rest they just tacked, put pieces together, didn’t work so they put another one there, and started like that. It was a good turnout last night and … yeah, I didn’t expect it to be like that. I was really excited and amazed at how the … is it gallery? What do you call it? The show? ... The launch, yeah, for the Beijing Olympics. Yeah, it was actually my first show that I’ve been to, arts show. So, yeah, especially seeing from up above the layout and design of how they got the three big paintings in the middle and all the rest of the paintings on the sides. And, yeah, I enjoyed it. Very proud of them for what they’ve done, um, how they sorted it out, worked together and got it all done and yeah. It was a good relief for them as well since …

KM: Any girls there?

CD: There was plenty, plenty There was a lot. I was on the camera so I was keeping watch up top, top of the stage. I think one of my mates KJ was walking around, roving, so a pretty good chance … a lucky guy he is.

KM: What was the highlight of last night?

CD: I just … it was just amazing. Brilliant. It was beautiful.

KM: Are you going to do anything tonight?

CD: I was thinking about going, there are two places … thinking of going to the casino, see what everyone else is up to, but if they don’t want to go to the casino, I think I’ll have to go my own way and probably look at the pole dancers. Only my mates was dancing the pole, that’s not enough fun for me. It’s coming close to the week so I’ve gotta bring my camera out, taken some home.

KM: What's the difference between here and Broome?

CD: More ladies.

KM: So you’re flirting?

CD: I don’t know how to flirt? How do you flirt? What’s a player?

KM: What else? (Difference between Perth and Broome)

CD: Oh just good coming down here, getting out of home for a while. Good to see you all again, like I said, makes me laugh, happy, back with you after a while not seeing you guys. KFC again, another one. I don’t get much KFC. Yes, it’s being back with the crew again I guess.

KM: How do you feel about the project going on for another two years?

CD: Yeah excited, happy, more wanted. Yeah more work, get more experience. Yeah, just learn lots. For me, this project, yeah I’m really excited. Just get more experience out of it, met lots of new people on the way this trip around, just to do with the museums and curators and stuff like that. Yeah and … what I say again?

KM: Are you interested in making a film?

CD: Yeah, I’m interested in doing more documentaries. Just been asking Nikki Ma on some more tips on documentaries, how should I go about it and how can I plan it and do research and stuff like that. Yeah I’m leaning towards more on the documentary side now, that I’ve been working with Form for this project, the Canning Stock Route. Yeah, just more on documentaries and this project’s going two more years, yeah, really excited. Going to stick with it right to the end, yeah, so once I start a project I like to finish a project.

Video format: DVD/MiniDV/Quicktime movie
Video recording: Tape 35
Source: CSROH_184_Clint_Dixon
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Clint Dixon; © 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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