Perth Festival is an annual multi-arts festival known for commissioning major new works, celebrating the unique qualities of Perth and engaging diverse audiences.
This year, as part of the festival, Kamile Gallery is presenting an exhibition devoted to Aboriginal Artists from Badimia and Wajarri Country. The team here at TR have the privilege of working closely with the Badimia community through heritage surveys and in facilitating projects that celebrate the language, arts and culture.
We’ve been reflecting on past projects we’ve conducted with Badimia, so we thought we’d dive into the archives and tell you about the first TR Foundation project: The Badimia Arts, Sites & Language Project.
Arts, Sites & Language of Kirkalocka
As part of NAIDOC Week 2016, the TR Foundation partnered with Badimia Land Aboriginal Corporation (BLAC) to deliver their first project, celebrating Badimia language and culture. The resulting Arts, Sites & Language of Kirkalocka Project was designed by Badimia Traditional Owners alongside the TR Foundation to showcase Badimia culture and arts practices, while also gathering the community to celebrate at sites with strong cultural significance.
The first day centred around activities on Kirkalocka Station, with participants travelling down from Mount Magnet to enjoy the presence of a Badimia elder who has recently passed and shall not be named. The Elder who had recently been awarded NAIDOC Male Elder Of The Year for his tireless effort to preserve Badimia language and culture, had deep ties and a shared history to Kirkalocka. During the project the Elder was happy to share his experiences about his formative years on the station.
Painting activities kicked off before lunch, with respected Badimia artists, Annie Walsh, Astrid Walsh, Caris Dorizzi and Eliza Walsh leading the way. The kids all got involved and listened to their advice on painting techniques and styles, producing some wonderful art throughout the morning.
On the second day of the project, we ventured out to The Granites; a place of importance to Badimia people. The deep red rocky outcrops that characterise the region provided a fitting backdrop for a day of painting, eating and storytelling, with over 50 community members joining in on the activities.
The younger kids took charge of several cameras, documenting each other painting and listening to Elders as they told them the names of various plants, animals and places in Badimia country. Yarns were shared around the fire and the senior artists continued to produce stunning artworks, using the themes of family, celebration, country and Badimia history and mythology within the paintings.
The last day of the project took place at Mount Magnet Community Development Program headquarters, Yulella. NAIDOC awards were given to community members to celebrate their accomplishments and the sense of pride and achievement filled the room.
There was strong participation from members of Mount Magnet Shire, Police, and the presence of WACRH (Western Australian Centre for Regional Health), who were on hand all week to help with the project. The project was concluded with the formation of a committee and the scheduling of a meeting to discuss future Badimia undertakings.
This project was tasked with celebrating and preserving the Badimia language, culture and arts, which the team here at TR are excited to continue helping facilitate.
Now, the Badimia and Wajarri culture is being celebrated in Perth Festival through the Desert Painters Exhibition, with the broader festival celebrating Indigenous culture of many communities throughout WA. So, get down to the festival before the 14th of March if you have the chance and check it out!
For the team here at TR, we’re looking forward to working further with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities on projects that will help protect and preserve the local culture and history.