Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo
Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo at RMIT Gallery is an exhibition curated by Dr Jacqueline Healy that examines the aesthetic divergences and vibrancy that distinguishes the art of Balgo.
TEXT ON SCREEN: Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo. 16th September to 8th November 2014 at RMIT gallery. RMIT logo.
AUDIO: Ambient country music.
VISUAL: Dr Healy is standing in the gallery, there are Balgo art works displayed. She stands to the right of a large orange, white and red work which has numerous circles made up of dots. A caption reads “Dr Jacqueline Healy Curator”. As she talks the camera moves to different works in the exhibitions, some of the artists are standing by the works.
DR JACQUELINE HEALY SPEAKS: The catalyst for the art movement emerging in Balgo was the painting of Father Peile's banners in 1981. These were a tribute to the priest, Father Peile, from the senior men in the community and then they just kept on going. \And these works are some of the very first paintings that were done by the senior men. After the men started painting in the Adult Education Centre, the women soon followed and what you got being created was a massive body of work because everyone was so enthusiastic.
VISUAL: Imelda Yukenbarri Gugaman stands next to her painting. It is mainly orange and red with a small black circle towards the middle. A caption reads “Imelda Yukenbarri Gugaman, Artist”.
IMEDLA YUKENBARRI GUGMAN SPEAKS: This is a painting I did. It's about bush tomatoes. Three womans (sic) are travelling from the south. They were dancing and they stopped to collect all this bush tucker. They were singing and they throw a few rocks into this rock hole. Those other people who were coming to watch them from a different direction and they joined together and they were sharing one another. They were living happily all together in this area. That's all.
VISUAL: Richard Alston seated in the gallery facing the camera. A caption reads “Richard Alston. Former Federal Communications Minister and Aboriginal Arts Aficionado.”
RICHARD ALSTON SPEAKS: There's something very special about Aboriginal art but I've got to say, for me, there's always been something special about Balgo, as well.
VISUAL: An elderly Indigenous man walks through the gallery, intercut with Dr Healy facing the camera and visitors looking at the exhibition..
DR JACQUELINE HEALY SPEAKS: I just want to talk a bit about Helicopter Tjungurrayi who was one of the major artists from Warlayirti. Helicopter got his name because he arrived at the community by helicopter. He and his family were found by a surveyor in the Great Sandy Desert and Helicopter was a sickly child and the surveyor took Helicopter and his aunt in the helicopter back to Balgo. And Helicopter, now, he's in the Quai ...Musee du Quai Branly in Paris, he's exhibited in London, Tokyo, all over the world, all over Australia and he's internationally recognised.
VISUAL: Helicopter Tjungurrayi stands next to his painting. It is made up of orange, green and red dots arranged in rows. A caption reads “Helicopter Tjungurrayi, Artist”.
HELICOPTER TJUNGURRAYI SPEAKS: My family country; grandfather country, and my father country; this and all this, bush tucker.
VISUAL: Sister Alice Dempsey stands in the gallery, addressing the camera. A caption reads “Sister Alice Dempsey, Principle, Wirrumanu Adult Education Centre 1982 till 1987”.
SISTER DEMPSEY SPEAKS: When I look at these paintings I'm filled with delight. I can't explain it because somehow I know there's such a depth to the meaning of these paintings and they're alive and I know they're alive and it touches something in me. So, for me, this place, now, is a place of absolute splendour; it's a kind of heaven, for me, to walk around here.
VISUAL: Dr Jacqueline Healy, stands facing the camera.
DR JACQUELINE HEALY SPEAKS: I think there is discomfort when Christianity is represented in Aboriginal art and I must admit I personally find that a bit bewildering because, in fact, it's the choice of the artist what they paint and what we have here in The Art of Balgo is we have people who have embraced two belief systems and in some of the artworks they meet.
VISUAL: The camera pans across a number of painting which demonstrate traditional indigenous styles with Christian symbols such as a cross.
VISUAL: Dr Jacqueline Healy stands facing the camera, a large painting behind her, intercut with children painting.
DR JACQUELINE HEALY SPEAKS: What this art is about is culture. It's about one generation passing stories down to another; it's about sharing knowledge; it's about sharing country; and it's about the custodians of the country understanding the stories, the rights and the privileges, so painting is an act of culture.
VISUAL: Fade to white
TEXT ON SCREEN: Gordon Darling Foundation logo, The Ursula Hoff Institute logo, the RMIT logo.
[END TRANSCRIPT ]
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