A unique manifesto as well as a fascinating account of a life well lived, a hymn of praise to the culture that nourished it, a testimony to one man's vision and resolve. KIERAN FINNANE reviews Kulinmaya! by Kunmanara Williams.
"Another year has passed and here we are again ... we started off quite small ... and we all grew up together, didn't we?" with these words Nyurpaya Kaika-Burton launched the 25th Desert Mob. KIERAN FINNANE reviews the region's flagship exhibition.
The old men from Amata stole the show. It wasn't just their charisma but their focus – the young people of their community – and their enquiring and imaginative outlook. Frank Young, Hector Burton and Ray Ken spoke to their ideas and work at the Desert Mob symposium on Friday. Willy Kaika and Barney Wangin were present in the auditorium and the men were joined on stage by a collaborator, the much younger installation artist Jonathan Jones, a Wiradjuri man from NSW.
The men are still painting – all of them except Young have work in the Desert Mob exhibition – but they have also turned their attention to teaching their young men to make their traditional weapons, kulata (spears) and spear-throwers. As they worked they saw "how strong and powerful" the weapons would look in their art work, said Young, director of Tjala Arts and chairman of the community, who translated for the other men. They began to imagine a room in a gallery "full of spears, thousands of spears".
KIERAN FINNANE reports from Desert Mob, the symposium and the exhibition.
Pictured, from left: Jonathan Jones, Ray Ken, Hector Burton and Frank Young. In the photograph behind them, Willy Kaika (left) with Burton.