Celebrating Reconciliation Week 2021

Celebrating Reconciliation Week 2021

Jasmine Eales

Reconciliation Australia’s theme for 2021, More than a word. Reconciliation takes action, urges the reconciliation movement towards braver and more impactful action.

For National Reconciliation Week 2021 we wanted to take the time to highlight some of the amazing First Nations projects that received Regional Arts Resilience Grants throughout the last year.


Genestreams Sculpture Workshops

Headed by Noongar elder Aunty Carol Pettersen, workshops at Twin Creeks Community Conservation Reserve and with Noongar prisoners at Pardelup Prison Farm enabled local indigenous artists to create artworks about 15 culturally and ecologically significant plant and wildlife species occurring across the area. The artworks were printed on aluminium strips, along with western science illustrations, and installed into the Genestreams sculptures which is now permanently installed at Twin Creeks.

This project speaks to the ecological, cultural and spiritual identity of the communities whilst scientifically connecting the deep time ancestry of the species with artworks about the species. Plans are underway to establish more sculptures, including one in nearby Denmark, and give greater prominence and respect to the cultural storylines that connect these sites.

Discussion will continue with the Pardelup Prison Farm to provide an opportunity for inmates to be involved in further landscape work, as part of the partnership in developing ‘Resocialisation and Reconnection to Community” as a  program for inmates. Note that Carol sits on the Pardellup Prison Aboriginal Justice Service Committee.

This project is being developed by Gondwana Link. For more information head to their website.

Noongar artist Carol Petterson stands in front of the Genestreams sculpture. Two indigenous workshop participants stand in the middle of the brightly coloured sculpture The newly installed artwork with artist Caroline Narkle, Frank Krakour, and Carol Pettersen. Photo by Ben Beeton


Community Histories Project

This project engages key Martu individuals in traditional forms of storytelling in language, providing opportunities for creative expression that were cancelled due to the impeding COVID-19 restrictions. Many of these individuals experience ill health, making the urgency to record their unique perspectives even more salient.

The focus of storytelling will be the largely undocumented historical movement and collective experience of the Martu Homelands movement, which established the remote communities and independent schools – Parnngurr, Punmu, Kunawarritji. Stories will leave a legacy to inspire cultural and community pride in future generations of Martu and motivate others to record their stories.

This project is being delivered by Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa. For more information check out their website.

Three indigenous women sit on couches, sharing stories and photos with each other Elizabeth Sailor, Brenda Sailor and Dawn Oates audio recording while examining old photos from the Martu Homelands Movement. Photo by Tamara Bulcock, Courtesy of Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa.


Wuyurpa (working title)

The project supports Martine Perret with the creative development of a multi-sensory exhibition titled Wuyurpa (meaning ‘feelings’ in Pitjantjatjarra language). The exhibition will highlight and bring attention to the cultural significance of Australia’s Indigenous languages with the upcoming focus on UNESCO’s International Decade of Indigenous Languages in 2022.

Martine will collaborate with Indigenous Elder Women (who speak endangered languages in regional and remote communities of Western Australia and Northern Territory), and with respected artists Dalisa Pigram (choreographer) and Jonathan Mustard (composer).

Martine Perret is a photographic artist, living and working in Margaret River. Find out more about her on her website.

An indigenous woman performs a dance routine on her knees, framing her face with her hands, while being filmed Dancer and choreographer, Dalisa Pigram, during the video on the “Language connecting to Country and Culture” project at the Jimmy Chi Hall in Broome. Photo by Jaye Smoker.


Karijini Experience Culture Night

Embedded in a five-day event that has a diverse and inclusive program of authentic, high-quality arts and cultural experiences designed to connect people to the awe-inspiring landscape of Karijini National Park at its heart is the Welcome to Country Corroborree and Smoking Ceremony.

During the ceremony, a group of adult and child dancers from local language groups welcome the attendees through singing, dancing, costume, and expression of Culture. All the while forming a strong connection between Pilbara locals and tourists in attendance to local culture and country. In the end, participants are invited to join this celebration of the region’s rich Banjima, Nyarparli, Yinhawangka culture.

This project was delivered by The Nintirri Centre Inc. Find out more on their website.

A young boy approaches the smoking ceremony, the area is filled with smoke from smouldering native plants Smoking Ceremony. Photo by Bobby Lockyer, courtesy of The Nintirri Centre Inc.


Mabu Jila platform

Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Cultural Centre (KALACC) are investing in extending capacity and reach of cultural artists from the 30 Aboriginal language groups of the Kimberley. KALACC responded to COVID-19 challenges through the creation of a digital platform to store, interact and share cultural artistic expression.

The ‘Mabu Jila’ (meaning ‘Safe Water’) platform resulted as an avenue to incentivize and encourage young people in communities to smart phones to record, upload and share traditional cultural expression. Early testing of the platform is currently underway in several sites across the Kimberley.

Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Cultural Centre is the Kimberley’s peak Indigenous Law and Cultural centre. Find out more about them on their website.

Indigenous men performing a dance at night Wangga men performing a dance), photo courtesy of Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Cultural Centre.


In their Footprints

Glen Strindberg received Resilience funding to work with a local First Nations Elder, Ken Ninyette, to create an online bush tucker series; ‘In their Footprints, “In their footprints: A guide to Noongar bush knowledge.”

The series is producing 8 entertaining short online videos on traditional bush skills and food in the Southwest of Western Australia. The videos will showcase cultural knowledge and will be an opportunity to pass on the knowledge of the Noongar people to future generations of Australians. We were given a sneak peak at the introduction, with videos to be released soon.

Glen Stringberg will be documenting the series on Real Life Outback Adventures. Keep an eye out for updates over on the Facebook page.


FIFO Fit In Or F..k Off!

‘FIFO – Fit In Or F..k Off!’, the first play by Broome’s Melody Dia, premiered in October last year to a delighted and proud home town audience at Goolarri Media’s Gimme Venue in Broome. The first Indigenous play to premiere in its own hometown since Bran Nu Dae 30 years ago, the buzz was electric.

Mari Lourey of the Goolarri Writers Program also sent in a story about the creation of the play that is well worth the read!

The Goolarri Writers Program is a development project by Goolarri Media. Find out more on their website.

The whole cast standing on stage in various positions during show Trevor Ryan as Jono, Bobbi Henry as Mary, and Marlanie Haerewa as Janey. Photo by Arthur Hunter.


Regional Arts Resilience Grants are provided through the Regional Arts and Culture Investment Program with support of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, with Royalties for Regions funding from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

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