Territory Stories

Arts backbone



Arts backbone


Association of the Northern, Kimberley and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists


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Association of The Northern, Kimberley and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists; Arnhem, Northern and Kimberley Artists Aboriginal Corporation; Art, Australian; Aboriginal Australians; Aboriginal Artists; Periodicals

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Association of the Northern, Kimberley and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists

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Arts backbone


volume 14 issue 1, August 2014

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Association of the Northern, Kimberley and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists



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ankaaa GPO Box 2152, Darwin Northern Territory, Australia 0801 Frogs Hollow Centre for the Arts 56 McMinn Street, Darwin Ph +61 (0) 8 8981 6134 Fx +61 (0) 8 8981 6048 Email info@ankaaa.org.au www.ankaaa.org.au Facebook: ankaaa.aboriginal.artists This publication may contain the names of Aboriginal people who have passed away. All text and images are copyright of the artist, Art Centres or ANKAAA (as indicated) unless otherwise stated. ANKAAA Arts Backbone is ANKAAA. The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of ANKAAA. ANKAAA is a not for profit Aboriginal Corporation. editor: Christina Davidson Issue coordination: Anisha Stitfold cover Image: Babbarra Designs Helen Lanyinwanga print Marebu, (Pandanus Mat). Translated into runway ensemble by Indigenous designer, Caressa Sengstock, for the Inaugural Australian Indigenous Fashion Week, Sydney 2014. Photo: Hamish Gregory ankaaa is proudly supported by: Welcome By Djambawa Marawili AM, ANKAAA Chairman Djilpin Arts, The Company of People By Fleur Parry, Manager, Djilpin Arts Rich in spirit, Culture is powerful medicine, bringing healing to the community and inspiration and understanding to the visitors that we welcome to walk with us, Tom E. Lewis, Artistic Director, Djilpin Arts. On country with kin and culture since 2002, Djilpin Arts has brought new spirit to the remote community of Beswick (Wugularr), 100kms south east of Katherine. Djilpin Arts Aboriginal Corporation has 100% Indigenous membership of people from Wugularr and related communities, and from Rittharngu/ Wagalak, Dalabon, Mayali, Mara, Jawoyn and Rembarrnga language groups. We focus on maintaining, developing and promoting arts and cultural practices of the region that represent all our members. Djilpins programs link traditional culture with modern enterprise. Our elders pass on their rich cultural knowledge to the communitys young people who bring energy and vitality to a myriad of cultural programs and activities including traditional and contemporary dance, music, visual arts and multimedia. Since 2002, Djilpin Arts young Indigenous media participants have developed a wealth of cultural material in digital formats; reigniting culture in the community through films, animations, documentaries, award-winning music videos, community education videos and YouTube Live technology. The incredible site of Malkgulumbu, Beswick Falls, on Jawoyn land is open to the public just once a year at the end of July for the Walking With Spirits Festival. The event features traditional dance together with songs and stories told in dance, music, puppetry, fire and film. The Ghunmarn Culture Centre is situated in Beswick (Wugularr) and is keeping place to the Blanasi Collection of works called Gunwinjgu or The Company of People as a way of sharing culture with others, in accordance with the original intentions of the old masters. The extraordinary story of David Blanasi is now available as a full documentary from Djilpin Arts: Kundirri: The life and legacy of David Blanasi. The Ghunmarn Culture Centre has a cafe and retail gallery showcasing more contemporary art and artefacts: including didgeridoos, carvings, fibre art, paintings on canvas and bark and limited edition and fine art prints. This is mirrored in Djilpin Arts second gallery space in Katherine. Djilpin Arts also proudly introduces a new standard in remote accommodation. Guests can stay with us in our architect-designed, award winning, guest facility at Beswick, Djakanimba Pavilions, knowing that room rates go straight back into a local Indigenous enterprise supporting remote art, culture, training and employment. Top: Djakanimba Pavillions, Beswick Community Guest Accommodation Top left: All painted up, Outside the Ghunmarn Culture Centre - Keeping Place to the Blanasi Collection, Beswick Community Below: Inside the Katherine Gallery and Cafe All photos: Djilpin Arts We are the Indigenous peoples who have been living here in Australia for tens of thousands of years. This is a time of great change both in government policy and in the wider world - including what is being called the third industrial revolution where new communication technologies together with renewable energy forms are rapidly changing realities of how people can work. Indigenous people in Northern Australia, most of whom are living on or close to their ancestral lands, want to step up and be fully and humbly part of positive change in this contemporary world. In 2014 the ANKAAA board has been active in inviting government and other partners to sit at the table with us and to work together in real partnership to build sustainable futures for the art industry and for Indigenous culture and livelihoods (see page 22). We want to make sure future generations of Australians benefit from our strong ancestral knowledge of country. In joint projects led by ANKAAA in recent years, the board and membership have worked collaboratively with: scientists (The Harvesting Traditional Knowledge project); leading mainstream arts professionals (Arts Worker Extension Project); and with philanthropic, corporate and government supporters, to design new more effective ways of promoting sustainability. Art is really important for Indigenous people in northern Australia. It is really important because it is telling an ancient story about country. About how human beings are connected to country and hold responsibility for its care. Art is a document. Artists document the land and are putting it on show, so that people will understand where the art comes from. The country, and the art and the culture are all inter-connected. Our clans are all connected to other Indigenous clans and country across Northern Australia through our inherited patterns and designs. Ancestral beings travelled across the land meeting different languages and connecting us. ANKAAA programs today share information and build networks between the different Indigenous clans and language groups in the north as well as learning from new Australians from all around the world. Today it is really important that interested Australians and government realise that art is closely linked to employment and livelihoods for Indigenous people in our homelands and remote communities. People sometimes say that there are no real jobs for Indigenous people in homelands and remote communities. They are wrong in this. People have to work with us friendly, gently, wisely and the jobs will be there in the Art Centres and in the country. ANKAAA is working successfully with Indigenous communities and leaders to strengthen employment of local Indigenous people in the network of Indigenous owned and governed Art Centres across north Australia, and to promote ongoing culturally based livelihoods for artists, and wants to continue collaborating positively around this. Djambawa Marawili AM, ANKAAA Chairman Baniyala Homeland, North East Arnhem Land, July 2014 2 Arts BackBone ankaaa Volume 14: Issue 1, August 2014 Volume 14: Issue 1, August 2014 aRT cenTRe FeaTURe Arts BackBone 3