July 2017:

Nyinyart Yinda “Cooking Colour on Country” Residency

Evolving Yindjibarndi interdisciplinary artist, Katie West, worked with our Juluwarlu Artists for two weeks exploring our flora – roots, flowers, fruit, bark, leaves and gum. We folded and knotted plants into linen and fine cotton fabrics, and boiled the fabrics in pots over snakewood fires exploring the qualities of Colour on Country. Many of us have expertise about the food and jami medicine qualities, and the wood-crafting qualities of our trees, and with Katie we learned a whole new way of drawing out the colours of our ngurra. Travelling, Katie who a daughter is of the stolen generations and was returning to learn about her country and her relations, explored our ngurra and waterways with our Elders, young women and girls learning the language of plants, where particular plants are profuse in July, and where to find the shy plants that hide or live in small clusters. She taught us how to cook up colour in pots on country. The work we produced had this same shy quality of Yindjibarndi plants and the colours of early sunrise and the last light of day. 


Juluwarlu and our Yindjibarndi member families celebrated NAIDOC Week with two cultural events. On Wednesday 5th July, more than 20 families, community members and 70 guests from our partners, Rio Tinto Rail, gathered among three new-built ooroo (traditional family camp shelters) at Juluwarlu under the eye of a large woven grass Marrga figure perched high in a eucalypt.  Juluwarlu artists wove the Marrga drawing upon the skills they learned in Fiona Gavrino’s artist residency. During the day, families and guests were entertained by a traditional women’s fighting performance by Tootsie Daniels and Marion Cheedy (much laughter); cultural awareness programs, demonstrations of Yindjibarndi flora and their uses; Pansy Cheedy’s painting; our artists weaving with YIndjibarndi grasses; some of Juluwarlu’s documentary films, archive photographs and artefacts and tours, and YIndjibarndi language and cultural programs, before Rio Tinto Rail awarded their employees of the year. Juluwarlu’s cooks were busy all day providing a feast of damper and kangaroo stew.

On the next day, the Juluwarlu Team and YIndjibarndi families travelled to Millstream to celebrate NAIDOC with staff of the Water Corporation.


Juluwarlu received a Roebourne NAIDOC 2017 Unsung Heroes Award for our continuing language and cultural work.

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